Makerspaces – Part 2

Facilitator: Chris Schlesselman, Applications and Sales Engineer for the Paton group
Note taker: Lorrita Ford, College of San Mateo Library

Participants: 12+

Participants were interested in learning more about makerspaces in general, sharing ideas for makerspace equipment, tools, and space planning for new or remodeled libraries.

Library Role/Rationale for Makerspace

  • Incubator
  • Test bed
  • Prototyping
  • Space where it is OK to explore and not fail.
  • Collaborative/Cross fertilizing space: Diverse across ages, programs, interests, status.
  • Fosters collaboration with academic disciplines and other libraries
  • Provide open access to “Making” culture.
  • Promotion of “Citizen Science”
  • Outreach: bring in new patrons
  • Support Innovation
  • Support Entrepreneurship
  • Support for curriculum
  • Support for Research
  • Attractive Nuisance?
  • Support for Basic Skills students who might not otherwise have exposure: level playing field.


  • 3D printing
  • Terrariums
  • Arduino
  • MaKeyMaKey
  • Kites
  • Salsa Dancing
  • Duct Tape Crafts
  • Geodesic Domes from soda straws and brads
  • Jewelry
  • Soldering
  • Bicycle Lights
  • Masks
  • Solar Cars
  • Smart Phone Astrophotography
  • Yarn bombing
  • Knitting/crocheting
  • LED jack-o-lanterns
  • Words-on-the move (magnetic poetry)
  • Tool lending library
  • Open Studio
  • Recycling used Clothes into new fashion
  • e-textiles- soft thread connected to battery unit
  • MIT bicycle glove
  • Holiday ornaments
  • Etching
  • Woodwork
  • Games
  • Puzzles


  • Open space in Library
  • Enclosed room in Library
  • Enclosed room outside of Library


  • Faculty
  • Students
  • Staff
  • Community


  • Students
  • Staff
  • Volunteers
  • Faculty


  • Student Clubs
  • Academic Departments
  • Career and Technical Programs
  • Corporations
  • Foundations


  • 3D Printers
  • Button making machines
  • Arduino Kits
  • SparkFun Kits
  • Sewing Machines
  • Hammers
  • Power Drills
  • 3D Scanners
  • Craft supplies Paper
  • Yarn
  • Media Equipment
  • Cameras
  • Laser cutters
  • Post it notes
  • Whiteboards
  • Legos
  • Tinkertoys

Funding Sources

  • IT Department
  • Library Funds
  • Institution Innovation Grants
  • External Grants
  • Charging for access/services/materials




  • Many participants interested in learning about space planning for new and remodeled Libraries. Demand for use of space for more than books;  patron inquiry’s about  3D printing.
  • Projects can take a lot of time.
  • How to run and support makerspaces an ongoing issue for many existing projects
  • How to make makerspace sustainable over long term.
  • How to get returns on investment (charge back for supplies? membership?)
  • Space doesn’t have to be in the Library
  • Makerspaces do not have to be exclusively “high tech”
  • Hard to get sustainable support for staffing and maintaining equipment.
  • Change is difficult:   Sometimes integration of new project/program needs to be forced
  • Retrofitting or repurposing existing space is often challenging or impossible due to ventilation and hazardous waste issues
  • Ideation is needed in all fields – library a neutral collaborator
  • Ask students what they want to make.. Simple beginnings often mature into more ambitious projects.
  • In some cases will need to make a case and create demand
  • There are natural ties to mechanical engineering, biological sciences
  • Makerskpace can be an extension of the classroom or lab.
  • Lots of funding available for “additive manufacturing”  initiatives;  especially for institutions.
  • Start small and be successful.
  • Money follows success.
  • Maintain vision and effort: eventually project will turn the right heads
  • Lots of concern about liability:  Waivers/Insurance: What if someone gets hurt?  Refuse to Print Policies? UNC state has a policy about printing.
  • Making the case:  use cases for needing to replicate – Protection of rare and vulnerable objects: Smithsonian project to print prototypes for research
  • Raw .stl is not the most desirable output for 3D printing
  • There are Makerspace Vans that visit locations:
  • Columbia University Library  posts pictures of 3d print jobs: