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Makerspace Assessment for Public Libraries

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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.

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Makerspace Assessment for Public Libraries

  1. 1. MAKERSPACE 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
  2. 2. WHAT IS A MAKERSPACE? “Makerspaces are “DIY” social spaces where people meet to create, design, share ideas and learn. ” -Bryan Shark “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“ -Laura Flemming
  3. 3. REPURPOSING UNDERUTILIZED SPACE • Excess meeting rooms – Quiet study space • Downsized circulating collections – Print & AV • Reference collections • The decision to repurpose space may be made using hard data & anecdotal evidence!
  4. 4. INTRODUCING THE TECHNOLOGY CENTER • 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!
  5. 5. KEY EQUIPMENT
  6. 6. SAMPLE TECHNOLOGIES Coding/Robotics Augmented & Virtual Reality Digital Media Creation
  7. 7. CURRENT USES OF OUR SPACE • Open lab hours • Tech appointments • Program room • School visits & tours – Students & Educators • Hands-on training space
  8. 8. WHAT AM I TRYING TO LEARN ABOUT MY MAKERSPACE? • 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?
  9. 9. WHAT DATA CAN I COLLECT WHEN ASSESSING MY SPACE? What’s being used? • Track print jobs • Equipment “checkouts” • CybraryN • Self-reporting How many people are using my space? • Sign in • Distinct users! • Program attendance • Door counter What are our users learning? • Certifications • Classes w/pre- requisites • Badging system (youth services) What value is being delivered? • Compare services to commercial alternatives. • Compare consumables to commercial alternatives. What else are my users interested in? • Surveys • Anecdotal evidence • Conversations with patrons.
  10. 10. STRIKING A BALANCE IN MAKERSPACE ASSESSMENT 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
  11. 11. 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!
  12. 12. THANK YOU! Nick Tanzi ntanzi@shpl.info (631) 549-4411 the-digital-librarian.com @techie_lib

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