Circulating Maker Kits: A Twist on Library MakerSpaces
The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County is a small to medium sized library in a fairly conservative and small(ish) Midwest town. It’s landlocked and there isn’t a lot of floor space to revamp into a MakerSpace. But that doesn’t mean we can’t encourage Makers. So in order to better incorporate the Maker movement into our library, we have done or are doing 3 things:
1. Mobile MakerSpace
As I mentioned, space is most definitely an issue. So we created a mobile makerspace. You can read the details about that here.
2. Circulating Maker Collection
We are creating a maker collection of circulating books. We have a space picked out for it, have discussed call numbers and location codes with technical services, so now all we need to do is order. We started by using the recommended Maker titles in the May 2015 issue of School Library Journal. Then I made a wishlist of titles on Amazon. My wishlist ended up being 160 titles long, and I’m sure we already own some of them, but we’ll be going through the list with a fine toothed comb to refine it and choose the most current and relevant titles. There will also be titles that we can pull from our existing collections and re-home in the Maker collection.
Some of the topics we will be including are:
- Movie Making
- Music Making
3. Circulating Maker Kits
The final piece of the puzzle for us will be to create Circulating Maker Kits (CMKs). This is not too big of a stretch for PLMKC because they already circulate early learning kits that have a variety of toys, puzzles and books on a specific topic that circulate in a clear backpack. For example, they have a kit on vehicles which includes some large toddler play cars, books on cars, etc. We will adapt this idea for our CMKs.
For a test run, we have decided that we will create 10 CMKs. Five will be early readers/ school age and five will be Tweens and Teens.
For example. one of our topics is going to be robots. For the early age CMK we will have a few robot titles, like Bot + Boy by Amy Dyckman, stacking robots, and a build a robot toy that is age appropriate:
For the Tween/Teen version of the same theme, we will be including several age appropriate books on robots, a Recycled Robots kit (it has the main components for making a robot and you use materials from around the home to complete it), and perhaps some brush bot pieces. If we buy the Brush Bot kit from Makershed we will have multiple packs that we can easily throw in to a kit each time it circulates. As you can see, we’re still working out the details.
Other topics we are looking at making kits for include:
1. Legos – For example, we can include the Lego Chain Reactions book (pictured above) and some various Lego activities that we find on line and print and laminate them for the pack.
3. Rainbow Loom – There are several Rainbow Loom books. We would include a basic loom, a Monster Loom, and a hook. We’re still trying to figure out if we will get a bulk number of bands and just keep replacing them or require patrons to supply their own.
4. Electronics – We will include some books and a small Snapcircuits pack.
We have done a little bit of research and some other libraries are circulating maker kits. They include things like a Spirograph, Goldie Blox, etc.
For circulating purposes, each kit will include a laminated checklist of the items in the pack so that circulation staff can make sure all the pieces and parts are all there when they check them in. And because we want to keep replacement costs down, we are looking at minimizing the costs of the items contained in each pack. Patrons will be charged the cost of any lost or damaged items, which is another reason to keep costs down. We do not live in a rich community so we want to provide the resources for our community but not put them in a huge financial bind.
Filed under: Makerspace
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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