Libraries Make Room for Makerspace

faq1_(1)When technology advances libraries are tasked with staying relevant to the community and often need to expand the scope of what services they provide, and over the course of the past couple years there has been a rising interest in technology, creating, crafting, and libraries have taken notice. Many have created what is known as a ‘makerspace’, which is an area given to individuals who want to express their creativity using various technological tools and is yet another example of how libraries are keeping up with the times.

A survey by John Burke at Miami University found that 109 libraries in the US had or planned on opening a makerspace in the near future. Luckily for any of our patrons, the Dover Public Library is one of them, and is planning on opening the space sometime in October. The items that are included in the planned media lab/makerspace are adobe premier, adobe photoshop elements, green screens, cameras, drawing tablets, and our new 3D printer. For the past couple of days the staff here at the library has been practicing 3D printing, and it is really an amazing thing. I was skeptical of how useful a 3D printer actually could be, but it turns out that the possibilities seem to be endless. From gadgets and toys to models and tools, you can print just about anything you can imagine with a 3d printer. The other, more traditional creative software and tools should help people create anything they want, from invitations/business cards to short films and photo albums. We are hopeful that having a dedicated area for creation will help to inspire everyone to jump in and begin exploring creative fields that may have been previously closed to them, and possibly work with one another on different projects.

Libraries who have already implemented their makerspaces have seen an increase in traffic from people who wouldn’t have otherwise stopped by, and that infusion of new visitors may help to inspire and create new programs for everybody. The space helps to further show people that the library is not just a place that houses books, but is a place for growth, learning, and the community. We are looking forward to seeing what kind of things you are going to create!

Have a tech question?

IMG_5795There are a lot of great services that are offered through the library which can be taken advantage of by using various devices, everything from e-books to online learning tools, but unfortunately sometimes there are hiccups along the way to setting up accounts or using your device properly.

Fortunately for anyone who has experienced or is currently experiencing those hiccups the library has decided that starting in September, there will be a tech clinic for anyone who is having problems with their computers (laptops), tablets, e-readers, or phones. For two hours every Saturday, from 10-12pm, there will be a designated librarian who will be able to spend time going over your issue, completely cost free. The librarians who will be assisting patrons have a well rounded knowledge of different devices, programs, and operating systems, so please stop by and we’ll do our best to help fix your issue. Even though we cannot guarantee fixing every issue you may have, it is definitely a better first step then shelling out money to a company just to take a look.

Created Equal Documentary Coming Soon

Since the end of June the Dover Public Library has been running the Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle program, which will have two more meetings in September on the 3rd and the 17th at 2pm. Each meeting has included a showing of a film related to Civil Rights, as well as guest speakers who have helped to share their personal experience and knowledge of the Civil Rights movement. The objective of this program is to help further educate and inform people on what it was like to live and experience the various aspects of the movement first hand, as well as a historical perspective, in an attempt to promote a discussion for all participants to take part of.

A documentary is also being created at this time and will be released at the conclusion of the program, so that people who were unable to attend the live meetings will at least be able take part in some of the experience. Check out some of the photos from the production of the documentary below, and be sure to stop by for one or both of the remaining meetings.

The End of Libraries?

Interior_view_of_Stockholm_Public_LibraryA couple of weeks ago there was an article on by Tim Worstall questioning why libraries are supported by communities today, since they are so costly to run in comparison to subscription based services like Kindle Unlimited. He points out that if the government were to just purchase every citizen an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription, there would be a much more vast selection of titles available, since there wouldn’t be inventory limitations while using a digital product, as well as possibly reducing the cost. It’s an interesting idea, but it really truncates what a contemporary library’s main function is.

The main issue with Worstall’s approach is that he believes all a library does is provide books for the public, when in reality, that is only one aspect of what is being provided. A response piece written by S. E. Smith highlights some important aspects of the library that seem to escape Worstall. The first, and arguably most important, function is that of a social gathering place. We’ve all seen how important a library can be at bringing the community together in recent weeks, with the successful Created Equal series, which saw over 350 people on opening night, and our Comic Con which saw over 2,000 people visit the library. Those are just two the most recent activities that the library has helped to provide to the community, each centered around different things. One was to promote learning, understanding, and to help create a discussion surrounding importance of the Civil Rights movement, while the other was a fun, free, family event for all members of the community to take part in. What happens to these programs when libraries stop being funded? Who would step in and replace the countless events, functions, programs, etc. that the libraries offer the community?

Aside from just the programming that is run through the library, Smith also points out the important aspect of having someone who is able to “provide highly unique and specialized services, benefiting from years of training to learn to serve patrons. It’s not just that a library provides access to books, but that it also offers access to brilliant individuals who provide research assistance, guidance, book recommendations, and tools to help people empower themselves when it comes to researching and locating information.” It is this aspect where the library really flourishes in its day to day operation. Having an endless supply of books is great, but not knowing how to use them is a problem, and ultimately is very close to not having access to them at all. What happens to the people who don’t know how to do research properly? How will people know which books fit their needs? Will the only recommendations come from people you know or online forums? There is a lot to be said for actually seeing a person and opening a dialogue with them in order to judge what course of action is best to help them achieve their goal, and that dialogue doesn’t happen if everyone is given a Kindle Unlimited subscription.

As I’m writing this, I can look up at any given time and see roughly 15-20 teenagers engaged in different things. Talking about comic books and movies with their friends, doing summer reading for school, or using the computers that are provided to them by the library. I can’t help but wonder where these young kids would be spending their time if the library wasn’t here for them. We serve as a place that is more than a warehouse or a bookstore, it’s a place where all people have access to the services, assistance, gatherings, programs, etc. that the library provides, and that is what makes them so unique and special.



Link to the original articles can be found here:
The Week