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Library Makerspaces - Planning Your Space

Planning Your Makerspace

Planning for your makerspace is not much different from any other community needs response 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?

Online Resources Available Made Possible through the Library Innovation Studios (makerspace) Project

Between 2017 and 2021, thanks to a grant provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Nebraska Library Commission and their partners developed templates, trainings, resources, and plans to share directly to 35 Nebraska Public Libraries who hosted a Library Innovation Studio makerspace for a 20-week period. Now any library or makerspace can benefit from the resources that were developed through this project.

When planning your space, check out the resources on the Library Innovation Studio project pages to include: recorded webinars, space needs chart, community engagement, communications and other useful resources and templates related to makerspaces.

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: