What metrics can public libraries use to assess their makerspaces? An exploration of the questions we should seek to answer, the data we can collect, and how we might present that information to different audiences.
ASSESSMENTP R E S E N T E D BY N I C K TA N Z I , A S S I S TA N T
D I R E C TO R
S O U T H H U N T I N G T O N P U B L I C L I B R A R Y
WHAT IS A MAKERSPACE?
“Makerspaces are “DIY” social spaces where people meet to
create, design, share ideas and learn. ”
“A place where young people have an opportunity to explore their
own interests; learn to use tools and materials, both physical and
virtual; and develop creative projects“
• Excess meeting rooms
– Quiet study space
• Downsized circulating collections
– Print & AV
• Reference collections
• The decision to repurpose space
may be made using hard data &
INTRODUCING THE TECHNOLOGY
• Opened July 2018
• Located in Adult Department on the
footprint of the reference collection.
• Utilized by children, teens & adults
• Built with collaboration in mind
– Five 4K TVs & 20 computers capable
of operating in workgroups.
• Highly visible—but soundproof!
Coding/Robotics Augmented & Virtual
Digital Media Creation
CURRENT USES OF OUR SPACE
• Open lab hours
• Tech appointments
• Program room
• School visits & tours
– Students & Educators
• Hands-on training space
WHAT AM I TRYING TO LEARN ABOUT
• What equipment is being used?
• How many people are using the space?
• What are they learning?
• What value are we delivering?
• What else are my users (and non-users) interested in?
WHAT DATA CAN I COLLECT WHEN
ASSESSING MY SPACE?
What’s being used?
• Track print jobs
How many people
are using my space?
• Sign in
• Distinct users!
• Door counter
What are our users
• Classes w/pre-
• Badging system
What value is being
• Compare services
What else are my
users interested in?
• Anecdotal evidence
STRIKING A BALANCE IN
Passive data collection
•Better creative space
•More reliant on self reporting
•May be less accurate
Onerous data collection
•More detailed statistics
•Can stifle creativity
•Can become labor-intensive
WHAT STORIES CAN YOUR DATA TELL?
• Data is great at informing your decision making,
but stories are what helps win & maintain public support!
• Your data should also be presented for public consumption!
• Example: 3D printing
– A dry take: in May our printer was used for 60 hours
– Storytelling: last month, 16 patrons learned the
basics of additive manufacturing!