Makerspaces provide tools and space where people with shared interests gather to work on projects while trading ideas and knowledge.
There are makerspaces for arts and crafts, and makerspaces for rapid prototyping of new products, just to name a few scenarios.
A makerspace may allow the novice to explore woodworking, metalworking, and electronics in the same workshop. CAD software, 3D printers, legos, lathes, laser cutters — any or all of these might be found in a makerspace.
In April, we celebrated National Library Week with a makerspace fair in the Hodges, Pendergrass, and Devine libraries. Booths set up along the Hodges second-floor hallway showcased gaming, 3D printing, and other “maker” crafts, and let students try their hands at traditional crafts such as origami or Japanese stab binding.
We used the opportunity to gather students’ ideas for the makerspace. Any student who filled out our survey got a ticket for a free makerspace t-shirt from our on-site screen-printing operation. T-shirts featured the custom designs our Marketing and Communication team created to generate interest in the makerspace and the Libraries in general as a space for everyone (“A space for the visionary,” “A space for the naturalist,” “A space for the mad scientist,” etc.).
Ours won’t be the first makerspace on campus. The Innovation and Collaboration Studio hosted by the Tickle College of Engineering and the College of Architecture and Design’s downtown Fab Lab are already allowing students to turn their ideas into prototypes.
The great thing about a centrally-located Libraries makerspace that is open to all students is the opportunity for multidisciplinary collaboration. Bringing together students with different skill sets and differing perspectives — especially students who aren’t traditionally prompted to work in this type of space — can spark innovation.