As you know if you’ve been part of the Library as Incubator Project community, we’re big fans of maker programs and spaces, and we love to see the variety of “maker libraries” that are being developed around the country and the world. Something that we like to emphasize in our classes and presentations is that to facilitate a true “maker library,” you don’t need to spend a lot of money on technology, equipment, and space. Facilitation – providing an environment that encourages hands-on exploration and creation – is our goal here, and you can do that with a lot of hardware and software, or without!

Today’s kit/idea for librarians, sent to us by young adult librarian Eden Rassette, is an example of an easy-to-manage pop-up teen makerspace kit that achieves many of the “maker” goals – exploration, practical skill development, and creativity – on a scale that just about any public, academic, or school library can replicate. Read on and learn more! ~ Laura

by Eden Rassette

Last fall I constructed a Maker Kit for my teen patrons. It is a very large plastic crate with all manner of arts and crafts supplies, including:

  • drawing pencils
  • sketchbooks
  • crayons
  • scrapbooking supplies
  • duct tape
  • scissors
  • stickers, etc.

This was designed based on feedback from  my Teen Advisory Board: they wanted simple arts and crafts supplies, not technology or devices. Teens can use the kit in the teen area, and sometimes I bring it to programs for teens to use while they hang out. They made holiday cards with it, and do other things like repair notebooks and backpacks with the duct tape!

I have a tally sheet on the top so that they can record when they use the kit, so I have some usage statistics. It’s worked really well so far, and teens often request that the kit be brought to programs. Every couple months I have my teen volunteers go through the kit and get rid of trash, organize it, and let me know if anything is missing. It’s a great, low-budget, easily transportable Maker Space!

Eden Rassette is the Young Adult Programmer at the Erlanger Branch of the Kenton County Public Library. She is an otaku, a YA Lit reviewer, Michigan-native, and proud pet of a 3 year-old dachshund.

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