Saturday, April 18, 2015

Happy National Library Week!

I was so glad that this year's ALA National Library Week was "Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library" because I feel that way in my job most days. Today I'm designing displays, tomorrow I'm coming up with a new marketing campaign, and the day after I could be 3D Printing. The profession itself is full of possibilities that can tap into a wide array of talents. I am rarely bored. This year we have made many updates to our collection and the library itself to include checking out hobby/science kits, ROKUs, interactive displays, a Digital Media Lab, and 3D printers to change the way the community sees the library and to invite new collaborators to share in our experiences. We have had the chance to meet inventors and fellow makers due to our Makerspace initiatives that didn't consider themselves regular library users in the past.
In honor of National Library Week, Ellen made 3D printed pins for us and the children's department hosted a science based program to use the #librarymade hashtag component on our social media sites. Our Science Wednesday had to compete with a very nice outdoor day but we still managed to spark some interest by putting up a Ferris Wheel made from the Lego WeDo additional kit on the help desk during our after school rush.  Kids asked how it worked then they could then go to any public computer with a WeDo set and work on their own project. At one point, we experimented with 3 projects going from one computer and they all worked using the same code. I love when tinkering and asking science questions actually WORKS!

It's fascinating to watch all the different learning approaches. We had 2 students who just started picking up the Lego pieces and making their own working machines while others meticulously followed the directions on ready made projects. One student watched another kid make a lion and then he went back to rework his lion and edited the code so he jumped like a jackhammer. A parent who wanted to purchase Lego Mindstorms for her 3rd grader said that this was a much easier entry into the robotics program than Mindstorms for the younger audience.  By only having 3 easy to distinguish control modules: the motor, the tilt switch and the motion sensor, kids are not overwhelmed in the building or coding aspects of WeDo (and neither are parents or other librarians).

Our origami bunnies even went for a ride on the wheel. Talk about high and low tech makerspaces converging.  The word makerspace itself has unlimited possibilities.


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