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Hardware Technology

Are Maker Spaces the Future of Public Libraries? 158

Posted by Soulskill
from the yes-please dept.
misterbarnacles writes "Shareable has an interview with librarian Lauren Britton Smedley from the Fayetteville Free Library, which is adding a Fab Lab to its community offerings. She said, 'I think that libraries are really centers for knowledge exchange, and a Fab Lab fits perfectly into something like that. This idea that libraries are a place where the books live, and you go to find a book, and that’s all it is, I think is really starting to shift. Libraries are a place for social transformation. They’re a place that you can go to get computer access, or access to technology that you can’t get anywhere else, and access to people. ... At the Fab Lab, the impetus behind the whole thing was to create a center for knowledge exchange where we’re not just offering Intro to Word or Intro to Excel — that we can offer Intro to Computer Programming, or Digital Fabrication — these skills that are really important in the STEM fields, and we can push that information out for free. And how do we do that? By getting people in the community who know that stuff to come in and share what they know.'"
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Are Maker Spaces the Future of Public Libraries?

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  • Neat. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:16PM (#38128094)

    I want a metal brake, CNC mill, CNC lathe, cutting laser, water jet cutter, and TIG welding outfit at my library.

  • by koan (80826) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:28PM (#38128208)

    I'm not religious at all, I don't buy into it, however the positive side of religion is as a community center, a gathering places for people to come together and in that sense I support the idea.
    However I have often thought that libraries could be (and are) the same thing on a higher level, a community center laced with science, knowledge and education, (and fiction too) access for all and a saner, kinder place to gather.
    A church of the geek/nerd as it were.
    I have many fond memories of my local library, and anything that keeps them around is welcome, there should always be some place for us "non-believers" to gather.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:29PM (#38128218)

    My local library is struggling for funds. Buying dead trees with ideas printed on them is out of the question - the budget is so restricted that library hours are being cut back constantly. I love my library and I support it every that I can - aside from volunteering because my state Georgia is run by ignorant, moronic, stupid, asinine, fucked up,

    You see, if I want to volunteer at my county library [cobbcat.org] I have to state that I have never wanted to over-throw the US government because my idiotic, moronic, dipshit, redneck, ignorant, asshole, stupid, legislature says that I need to fill out this form (Sedition and Subversive Activities Questionnaire) [cobbcat.org]!

    I'd like to say, that we in the State of Georgia in the US of A (not to be confused with Georgia the country - for my ignorant fellow Americans) are stupid, ignorant, Bible thumping morons!

    See, I can't fill it out and say "No" because I want to control the World and my first action as Emperor of the World is to condemn every Goddamn Georgia (US) legislator who voted for that bill to hard labor - actually any labor considering that they're all pampered assholes - and education outside of their moronic World view.

    Goddamn it! I Really Hate the South sometimes!!

  • by camperdave (969942) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:36PM (#38128306) Journal
    I'll say it's not about the books. My local library has 54 SF books, and not an Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, or Bova in the bunch.
  • by hedwards (940851) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:18PM (#38128888)

    Actually, around here the libraries are mostly used by the well off. Or at least those are the people I see when I go to the library. The poor people don't seem to be interested in literature or the resources that the library has available. With the possible exception of the computers and a few workshops. But those things are also available from other places.

    When it comes to government services you tend to get what your officials demand. If they demand low quality fly by night services that's what you get. If they demand high quality services and provide funding that's what you tend to get. Especially if you have an active citizenry that demands it.

  • by vlm (69642) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:30PM (#38129032)

    "Starting" to shift? Libraries haven't been about books in at least 10 years (since I became a librarian). In fact, the "it's not about books" thing was a long-tired cliche even then.

    I think its a physical remodel thing, it takes awhile to remodel, so that what they wanna do reflects the building layout. The recently completed remodel of our local public library just dropped below 50% of floor space devoted to books. When I was a kid it was between 50 and 75 percent. About 10% kids play and meeting and reading area next to the childrens library desk (beanbags, etc), also a separate glass walled "teen area" with teen books and scheduled book readings and book discussion groups. Study areas have imploded down to less than 10%, too many homeless were living in the study desks, I donno where they go now. Computers and computer area has exploded to at least 10%, must be two dozen virus, worm, and keylogger-laden windows PCs there slowly chugging away, I wouldn't touch those machines with a ten foot pole, or at least without an elaborate forensics kit. About 10% current and recent magazines and newspapers, note they subscribe to about 25 national and world daily newspapers. About 10% non-traditional library media, we're a depository library for genealogical microfilm and have rows of readers and printers to use it, well over a hundred years of local newspaper on microfiche, etc. About 10% DVDs, audiobooks, music CDs, and ancient 1980s 1990s computer cds/dvds (shareware, multimedia shovelware, etc). About 10% meeting spaces ranging from small office like collaboration areas to a 100 or so person meeting hall. That leaves about 30% remaining for old fashioned physical paper books. Still the largest area by far, but a far cry from the old library.

  • by ThePeices (635180) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:46PM (#38129288)

    Just stop it. Using BS marketing terms are counter-productive.

    Call a workshop a "maker space" is cringe inducing, embarrassing and just downright uncool.

    And dont even *think* of trying to use the word "Synergy" either, it just shows how out of touch with the word you are.

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