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Library Makerspaces - Planning Your Space

Makerspaces are collaborative learning environments that serve as gathering points where people come together to share materials, knowledge, and experiences. Makerspaces can have all different varieties of materials and tools (hi tech and low tech) where the focus is to create, invent, tinker, explore, and discover using the tools, materials, and knowledge available. The mindset of a makerspace is community partnership, collaboration, and the free exchange of ideas.

Here is non-exhaustive list of Creative, Innovative, and Makerspaces in Nebraska and Nebraska libraries. If your space is not listed, or your have a link to add, contact us.


Planning Your Makerspace

Planning for your makerspace is not much different from any other strategic planning. It is first essential to determine what the needs of your community are, and then respond to those needs. A very essential part of this process is community engagement. The notion of a makerspace involves leveraging talent, human resources, and knowledge that exist within your community to bring people together to invent and create. The process not only involves making things but also the building of relationships among people and the sharing of ideas.

It is essential to know your community, complete a profile of your community, and actually get out into it to engage local organizations, here are some basic questions to ask:

  • What are the goals of the makerspace? What are your targeted areas or age groups? A lot of this depends on local interest, human knowledge (both library staff and community volunteers), and existing physical space.
  • What spaces or groups already exist in the community or nearby communities (e.g. are there local maker clubs, colleges or universities, or other groups)? Are you able to share their knowledge, learn from their experiences, or partner with them?
  • How will you use your space? Will it be a permanent space, or will it travel to different parts of the community, or neighboring communities? How will programs be structured?
  • How will the makerspace be funded? Are grants available? Would local community business, funders, government, or organizations be willing to invest? There may be sources that would allow you to try makerspace kits, items, or programs prior to investment.
  • How will your makerspace be evaluated, and what will you learn from evaluation? Is there an interest for additional items? How might the acquisition of additional items benefit the community?

Logic Model

We have created a generic logic model (with thanks to our partners at UNL) to provide an example of a graphical depiction of common makerspace implementation at your library.


More Planning Resources: