Perspectives on Supporting and Administering Maker Culture and Programs in Libraries
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Makerspaces are popping up all over, and it seems that the maker movement, as some call it, is still early in its growth phase. Many libraries—public and academic—dabble in this area; while some makerspaces are modest corners with a few Arduinos, others go further and offer sophisticated spaces and technology. Even the White House is getting in on making, sponsoring its first ever Maker Faire in June 2014. Whether one accepts the rhetoric that making represents the beginning of manufacturing’s return to North America or not, making/makerspaces clearly touch a nerve in many people who have an innate wish to move beyond being consumers of technology and media. The speakers will approach the topic of making from the vantage point of both those who are seeking support for initiatives as well as those in administrative positions who are asked to support them. There are myriad issues to consider when considering such support, some of which are not typical of library programs and services, e.g.- hazardous material and life safety concerns. Others are perhaps better known issues, but have their own making-specific dynamics. For example, cost recovery for materials is challenging, as is addressing some of the inherent gender and race issues that tend to arise in technology environments.