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Vickie L. Novak

Direct Line

A Quarterly Message
From Library Director
Vickie L. Novak


In my fall column, I wrote about the $10,000 grant the Glenview Public Library received recently from the Infosys Foundation USA InfyMaker contest. Kate Stack, a Glenview student, entered and won this national contest. Kate designated the Glenview Library as the grant recipient. Included in the grant, was a MakerSpace training session in San Francisco, along with funds to purchase MakerSpace equipment and materials. For those of you new to the concept, a MakerSpace is a collaborative workspace using a range of tools, materials, and equipment to encourage critical skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) through hands-on learning. I promised to share details as the MakerSpace Project evolves. To this end, I have invited Beth Kerns, Youth Services Technology Coordinator, to provide an update on the progress toward creating a mobile MakerSpace.

~ Vickie L. Novak

After accepting the MakerSpace Award, the Glenview Library sent two staff members to the special training. The Library’s IT Consultant Richard Kalinski and I were selected to attend the MakerSpace Possibilities Workshop in San Francisco. The training was led by educators from MakerEd and held at the Pier 9 facility of CAD software designer, Autodesk.

During the first day of training, attendees toured Pier 9’s workshops for professional makers. “Making“ means anything from tinkering with ingredients for a new recipe to prototyping a prosthetic arm, which we learned on our visits to the Test Kitchen and the 3D Print Workshop. Other stops on the tour included the Electronics Lab and the Textiles, Wood, and Metal Shops. Another highlight was seeing Autodesk’s “Wall of Fails,” shelves holding projects that did not turn out as planned—a reminder that failures are an expected part of the process of making.

While we didn’t have the opportunity to use the high-tech machines at Pier 9, we were invited to try maker activities. Attendees had their choice of glue guns, LEDs, office supplies, motors, paper, batteries, and craft materials. There was even a rocket launcher for those who wanted to build and test a rocket. We weren’t given instructions, just plenty of materials, tools, and time to make what we wanted in the way that we wanted.

At the second day of the workshop, the participants were encouraged to informally discuss maker topics. After group discussion, we toured the Exploratorium Museum. Most exhibits at this museum are not behind a glass case. Instead, they are meant to encourage interaction and exploration. The museum also has a dedicated MakerSpace for visitors with featured projects, such as building a circuit board.

In conclusion, what did we learn at the workshop? We learned that maker activities for youth should build on their creative interests, and can be effective with or without high-tech equipment. A good MakerSpace allows youth to fail and to try again. These lessons have guided us as we move forward with plans for a mobile MakerSpace, made possible with Infosys grant funds.

We hope you and your families will join us to see maker tools in action at our Drop-In MakerSpace Demo on January 3. Next, we invite you to have some hands-on fun with the Library’s new mobile MakerSpace at Family Tinker Night on January 4.

~ Beth Kerns

Email Your General Questions, Comments & Suggestions to the Library Director