This past weekend, while waiting for my Eggs Benny, a friend approached me. He asked me to explain this “maker thing” in 30 seconds, and though the idea of making is fairly simple, the how and why are far more complex than mere seconds allow.
The concept is not new; in fact it is quite old. If you need something, you make it. If something is broken, you fix it. If you have a problem, you solve it. You are not alone though, there are tutorials and videos, services and parts, social groups, and mentors all at your disposal like never before in the history of all humankind.
A maker conceptualizes ideas, refines skills, creates and adapts physical things, and shares this process with anyone willing to listen. Everyone benefits when we are makers. People learn more complex and specialized skills. Multigenerational, multicultural, and multidisciplinary human bonds are created. Technical advances are made. Jobs are created. The local and global economy strengthens.
Libraries are part of the maker movement. They are a place to turn to for vetted resources, they are a meeting place for their community, and some libraries are starting to offer more opportunities for the act of making to occur right in the library. Heather Braum (NEKLS), Erin Downey Howerton (Wichita Public Library) and I presented earlier this month at the Kansas Library Conference about making. Heather covered where the movement has been, I covered maker tools, and Erin shared her experiences with offering maker programming in the library. Slides and notes are on nekls.org: Duct Tape, Circuits, and Knitting, Oh My! Maker Culture at Your Library. More maker resources can be found at nekls.org/nekls-services/makers
Saturday November 9th, I will be once again presenting at a conference about makers. This upcoming conference will involve several firsts for me. It will be my first time to Louisville, my first time to the annual Library Information Technology Association’s forum, my first presentation at a national conference, and the first flight I will make this decade/century/millennium. As “go-time” approaches the anxiousness increases. This will be the third iteration of this maker tool presentation, from local, to statewide, to national, and I am hoping to keep giving this “maker thing” the attention it deserves.