Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Commit to well-labelled storage

Clear drawers are super storage option
As with any new initiative, committing time and money are of utmost importance. But no less critical is the issue of storage!

Has the library made a commitment to housing all the supplies and tools necessary to run a small electronics lab? A sewing center? A crafting corner?
We are lucky to have a lockable multipurpose room with built in cupboards (it used to host an in-house cafe for patrons which didn't work out). The cupboards provide a welcome location to tuck away tool kits, painting supplies, boxes of costumes, recyclables, etc. that we were using for our annual 4th of July parade float and various on-going programs to which we had made a commitment.

When the notion of a Makerspace came up, we all thought of the Resource Room immediately, but, as the chief "Maker of Messes," "Uncontrollable glitter-meister,"  in the Resource Room, I was keenly aware of the danger of making this space unusable for the many, many other programs the library supports.
Luckily, our local Maker Mentor, Chris Connors, gave us a whole bunch of clear drawers that we could label and tuck away in a corner. Parents of our Middle School DIY club came up with some super plastic bins that have proved invaluable for bulky storage.

Samurai Cardboard Warrior,
Guardian of Makerspaces
Be SURE to take the time to label everything as best you can. This makes the equipment accessible to other staff members and opens the whole Makerspace initiative up to more and more creative ideas!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Paint and STEAM

Although I'm not a big home decorator, I have fallen in love with chalkboard and magnetic paints in my home.  Plain mugs, message boards or picture frames are getting a personal touch this holiday season. How does this fit into libraries? With the growing popularity of collaborative spaces between museums and children's rooms in libraries, there is a call for more interactive spaces between parents and their children with or without a librarian present. Old cork boards can be turned into over-sized refrigerator door art displays from patrons with magnetic frames and construction paper. What about making a chalk board to ask a question like what everyone is thankful for this year? and just leave out some chalk (in a well supervised area of course!). We all probably have some magnetic alphabet letters lying around. Why not re-create Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin?
Just this past week I learned about taking it to a whole new level with conductive paint, which turns any surface into a circuit with just paint, a battery, and a led light. A quick tutorial to build a simple circuit is found on Instructables. Bare Paint seems to be the leader in this department, selling kits to make electronic cards, paper houses, and more. They are even adding projects using their Touchboard sensor which will be able to link sound effects with a simple touch. No soldering, just paint and imagination! DIY'ers will be able to make projects such as interactive paper books or walls that teach the alphabet when pressed.  Speaking of awesome interactive walls, check out MIT's living wall project using conductive paint and paper kits.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to brainstorm using these paints for a project like this and promote early literacy and science? There are many home ideas out there with just a quick search on Pinterest that could be implemented easily into libraries cheaply.  Worried about your walls? Use an old bulletin board, canvas, or cookie sheet as a base and start small. This is what I see in the children's room of the future.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hour of Code has begun

Here at the Duxbury Free Library we have geared up to help people of all ages participate in the Hour of Code. Of course, folks can do their hour anywhere they have access to wifi, but we're making it easy to do it at the library!  HOUR OF CODE

We have designated computers for this project, volunteers (our PHILS group and others ) coming after school to help anyone who might be a bit hesitant to dip their toes in, and bookmarks with a list of sites people can follow up with to learn and practice more!

It's important for both boys and girls to see coding as a part of life - no matter what their career goals.
Every modern job will require some knowledge of computer coding to be fully mastered.

It's really logical, fun and satisfying to practice the computational skills on the Hour of Code web site!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Stockholm teen library space is designed with "Making" in mind

Highlighted in the latest School Library Journal, this exciting tween space in the Tio Trennon Library in Stockholm, Sweden, is inspiring...!
"TioTretton is an oasis full of books for those between 10 and 13 years old. Besides snuggling into a book at one of our cozy reading space, you can also play theater, make songs, animate or cook. Or do nothing."
Sewing machines are ready for use to create costumes or whatever.


Opportunities to create films and animations using resident ipads, cook in a full kitchen, sit and read, hang out with friends... all in stocking feet. Shoes are left at the door.