Every librarian struggles with imposter syndrome. We never feel ready enough, prepared enough, equipped enough. Imposter syndrome can keep us humble, can push us to find more professional development, to keep looking for more resources, BUT it can sometime prevent us from taking the leap when we want to try something new. This year, even though I didn’t feel prepared enough, I started my makerspace.
Our clean Makerspace
I worked with one of the teachers assigned to supervise a study hall to outline our plan of attack. My activities were designed to be an incentive for students who finished early. They were a treat that didn’t have to happen everyday (depending on my schedule). I made sure that my first activity was a fun one that made them want to come (duck calls out of straws). I had a group of enthusiastic students who started a project so large, we had to work on it during lunch. This success during lunch motivated me to open it up to running a club for all during lunches.
Makerspaces have become synonymous with 3D printers and high tech tools. It’s very hard to ask for those things without an established program. We started our program with simple activities from straws, popsicle sticks, manila folders, beads, and yarn. Yet, with those tools, we covered binary code, morse code, the thought process behind anamatronics/muscles, potential/kinetic energy and a variety of other topics.
We then used Donors Choose to get a Makey Makey and a small set of Little Bits. The kids enjoyed them and we’ve actually been able to share our resources with a science class.
I was really grateful to do 2 Skype sessions for our students. In February, we Skyped with students who had a successful maker program. My kids were in awe of what this school had built their program into. In April, we Skyped with Michael Hayward from Schlow library who spoke about how to make an App. I really enjoyed bringing a fresh perspective to my students.
Next year I am considering how I arrange my library to allow for a better flow. I think the makerspace will be moved to an area that has more storage for supplies and in-progress shelves.I also am going to think about putting procedures in place to make sure that I can have more students working independently on projects when they have time and to use our homeroom time.
Having conversations with other librarians have helped me so much throughout this process. Sometime the best resources are Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and face to face conversations with colleagues. We are all lucky to have each other. I am lucky to have everyone who helped me make my makerspace a great part of my library program.