The most important resource for creating a successful library maker space—whether in a school or public library—is one’s own community, according to librarians Justin Hoenke, Amy Koester, and Michelle Cooper. Strong relationships and community involvement, not big budgets and high-tech gadgetry, are key to reaching children and teens, the trio of makers say.
Last week’s “The Digital Shift” virtual event, “Reinventing Libraries,” produced by Library Journal and School Library Journal, looked at the broad spectrum of ways in which libraries are remaking themselves and rethinking their missions—and how to accomplish them—in the digital age. Throughout the day, panelists gave presentations, took questions from honing new skills, developing new ones, and thinking ahead about what assets will make a successful library—and a successful librarian—in the future.
Has the maker movement taken hold in your library yet? Starting a maker space is easier—and less costly—than you may think. Technologies such as robotics, digital video production, computer coding, and 3-D printing may garner the most attention, but traditional activities instill the same spirit of invention, collaboration, and critical thinking of the maker phenomenon.
“The next series of innovations will come as a result of the accelerating demand in the education space. Serving students and learners of all ages (Pre-K–12, higher ed, and lifelong learning) will provide new engagement with library users and drive the next wave of innovation.” David Burleigh, Director of Marketing for OverDrive
Regularly ranked as the busiest or the second busiest library in the United States, the King County Library System (KCLS) in Washington annually processes 22 million checkouts and records more than 84 million visits to its catalog. It’s enough to strain any integrated library system (ILS), and a few years ago, IT services director Jed Moffitt decided that, owing to this volume and the need to add proprietary features to its system, there simply wasn’t a commercial ILS on the market that could meet the library’s unique requirements. He famously coauthored an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant of $1 million that enabled KCLS to experiment with, and then migrate to, the open source Evergreen ILS while developing a peer-to-peer support model to help other libraries and consortia that were interested in doing the same. Moffitt admits that there have been growing pains during the past three years. But he still maintains that commercial ILS vendors simply aren’t organized to do the type of development work that KCLS needs.
In a quick reversal of its position on Kindle lending, Penguin on September 26 loosened the terms of its renewed agreement with OverDrive, announced only the day before. The publisher has agreed to allow library patrons to download ebook titles wirelessly via OverDrive’s “Get for Kindle” function instead of, as initially announced, first downloading titles to a computer, and then side-loading those titles to their Kindle classic or Paperwhite using a USB cord.