Transforming Libraries through Technology

21st Century Learning in our Library Communities

December 12, 2013

As more e-books and computers are replacing good, old fashioned paperback books, libraries are trying new and creative ways to maintain their roles as community learning centers. Creating makerspaces is one of the progressive solutions and this past year, we’ve been part of this exciting transformation taking place in a variety of settings.

Here are some of the highlights from our amazing littleBits community:

Brooklyn Public Library

This August, the Brooklyn Public Library and Hive NYC Learning Network hosted a Storymaker Party for young digital makers, ages 10-18, as part of the global Mozilla Maker Party. Attendees tried out new technologies and participated in workshops focused on storytelling-as-making. The littleBits table was buzzing and blinking all day as curious participants created circuit combinations and crafted electronic narratives. Other participants included: CoderDojo NYC, Eyebeam, Hive NYC/Webmaker, Inanimate Alice, Institute of Play, Iridescent, and New York Hall of Science. Images from the event can be found on their Flicker page and you can watch the must-see recap video here. If you are curious to learn more about storytelling with littleBits, check out our workshop Tinkering with Storytelling.

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New Milford High School Library

We’ve been hearing (and seeing @NMHS_lms) a lot of news about a library makerspace at New Milford High School, NJ. Laura Fleming, Library Media Specialist, is the brains behind the operation to merge new technologies and STEAM learning in the library setting. As students walk into the makerspace, they are greeted with this message: “What is ‘Worlds of Making’ @ NMHS? Well, that is up to you, the maker. This space, both physical and virtual, is a place for you to collaborate, hack, invent, share, create, make and do. You have been given the tools you need to get started, but where it goes is up to you. The world is your platform.” Laura actually discovered littleBits at the Brooklyn Maker Party and several Kits have since been added to her maker toolbox.

Check out the images and video below of the newly constructed “littleBits Bar”:

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For more information about Laura and the NMHS Makerspace, you can read this feature from the Center for Digital Education or follow Laura’s blog, Worlds of Learning. Stay tuned for our Educator Spotlight post on Laura this month!

 

 The Evolve Project

For libraries that aren’t sure which products to introduce to their Makerspace, Brian Pichman of the Evolve Project is taking the lead. “My goal is to change the way people see libraries.” Brian and his team are working to bring technology into libraries to create affordable makerspaces.  Budget is a concern for many public libraries, so products with versatility and durability are important considerations. littleBits, Makey Makey and Sphero are just some of the products that are being introduced and so far the response was been very positive. You can follow Brian’s work through the Evolve Project (new website coming soon!) or reach out to him directly to see how technology can transform your library.

evolve project

 

American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Annual Conference

Superstar community member Leslie Preddy, from Perry Meridian Middle School in Indiana, attended several library conferences this year with littleBits in tow, including the AASL Annual Conference which took place November 14-17th. Her rational for presenting littleBits to her colleagues was “to show how libraries can incorporate electronics into their makerspace without complex knowledge of engineering or the dangers of soldering. littleBits are an important must-have resource for their makerspaces because (1) what it teaches their student makers, but also (2) how littleBits will build interest and learning within the makerspace.” We love what Leslie is doing at the national level to spark conversations and ideas about making and learning through electronics.

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And folks, that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Are you creating a makerspace or adding technology programming to your library? We’d love to hear about it or be involved; email us at [email protected]