Makerspaces – version 2

I do wonder what I was thinking when I opted to be twitter champion for the week of Makerspaces.  So much to say, so few characters – the dynamic medium of twitter communication with an intrinsic demand for being succinct did not fit well with the wide horizons of Makerspaces.

To makerspace or not to makerspace?  That is the question for many libraries that build a strategic plan based on community needs and expectations.  This was a common thread of the twitter chat with comments about new ways of providing community services

Further comments from Nura, Karen, Kylie, Michele and Katie responded with similar sentiments to Heidi’s early tweet

Steph asked if makerspaces should be restricted to technology, or could it include art, reading play etc?  This was the catalyst for discussion about the competing arenas of STEM and GLAM, and discussions as to why libraries should provide spaces for these activities when previously community interest groups had filled this need.


While Nura’s comment indicates that the GLAM has a role in nurturing learning:

This was supported by Kaley, Karen and Leela who believe that creativity has added benefits of experiential learning, relaxation and social interaction.

Makerspaces are mooted as the new hot topic for libraries, but Clare’s share tweet shows that this is not so.

It seems that everything old is new again – with SLQ’s masterpiece makerspace, The Edge described as

a visionary space for ‘creating creatives’; a melting pot of ideas and innovation, capacity-building, experimentation and innovation

The space provides a meeting place for creators to create and share ideas, using the space, tools, equipment and support network provided under the mandate:

to empower Queenslanders to explore creativity across art, science, technology, and enterprise…

This aligns with Lisa’s and Katie’s belief in meeting community needs and interests.  It’s about accessing technology to enhance learning by bridging the technology gap that exists even in the middle of the city.

Events, courses and programs described in the Edge E-News publication invite participation in creative workshops and short courses; meet-ups to learn calligraphy, books crafts, interactive technology, design and multimedia production; and an open ticket to look at The Edge and all it has to offer.

Makerspaces are more than a haven for creativity – they provide a hub for incubating new ideas – supplying creators with tools and equipment – building a platform for startups – giving innovators a place to design and prototype.

Makerspaces empower people to ‘have a go’, without fear of failure, in a non-confronting space.  For all these reasons, I believe that makerspaces are a bonus to libraries in fostering community engagement and interactions, opening conversations, sharing knowledge, through the iterative processes of creativity.   Makerspaces that include tech spaces and access to a range of digital literacy based programs bridge the digital divide by providing services that might not be otherwise available.

Author: Helen Treherne

I love learning about data, libraries, information organisation and new technologies. I also love to chill with my three kids, my partner and my dog - walking, talking, eating good food and listening to live music - especially anywhere close to the beach.

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