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Thoughts on Our First Maker Mondays at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County

We hosted our first Maker Monday yesterday at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH) and it looked something like this:

makermondayimage1

We had 7 stations with 6 activities:

  1. A button making station
  2. Bottle cap magnets
  3. LittleBits
  4. Strawbees
  5. Legos
  6. Ellison Shape Cutters
  7. and a Paper station for selecting and cutting papers for the Ellison, Bottle Cap and Button stations

We had 50+ patrons, mostly families and teens, over a 5 hour period. The favorite activity was hands down button making:

makermondayimage2

What Worked Well

Basically, it all worked really well. We did quickly find that we needed to add another table for both the Strawbees station and the paper station, but this was a quick and easy fix. We had really good signage, labeling and directions which helped.

July67

One of the Button Making stations

What I Would Do Differently

We are working on getting a cart that has a laptop and a color printer for our space. It can easily be moved in and out for Maker Mondays and we could use it to teach participants how to make some basic images for their buttons. Many patrons wanted to print off their Instagram pictures to make buttons out of and this would have worked well for that as well.

It tooks days for us to set up, in part because we didn’t know how we wanted stuff organized. Now that we know we packed up everything by table and placed the items onto 2 carts. I would love to buy 2 dedicated carts and find a place to store them so we can do easy set up and take down each time.

What I Want to Do in the Future

Scheduling

I would like to make Maker Mondays a regularly scheduled part of our programming. I think having it be a predictable and dependable part of our programming schedule will help patrons know when to come. It’s not as ideal as having a dedicated space, but it definitely helps us promote and encourage making in our community.

Organization and Training

I want to put together a really clear manual for the space for staff. It would include a photo layout of the room, instructions for each of the activities, etc. It would also include a supply checklist so that at the end of each Maker Monday staff could inventory supplies and re-order if necessary. We would need to include a vendor list for unique vendors like the American Button Machines company and where able specific product numbers, etc. I would also like to include a few different activities that we can rotate in and out to provide some variety.

Staffing

We had 2 staff members here that day and they were both definitely needed. Ideally we would take about 10 staff members and train them and create a rotating schedule. The button making and Ellison machines really need someone there to help patrons, so in a perfect world there would be 3 staff, one of which would be responsible for greeting people who come into the space and letting them know what the various activities are.

Branding

Somehow our Maker colors have ended up being yellow with black lettering and silhouettes. It is very eye catching. I want to create a logo, signage, and order staff polo shirts (yellow of course) with the black silhouette logo. Staff could wear these polo shirts and jeans for Maker Mondays. There is a real need to be comfortable and able to move easily while wearing clothes you don’t care about getting a little dirty.

Not actually our logo, just me goofing around

Not actually our logo, just me goofing around

Promotion

I want to put together a brochure or handout that promotes the various Maker resources to the community. It would include 4 sections:

  1. A basic introduction to the Maker movement
  2. An overview of Maker Mondays and the various activities available
  3. A note about The Maker Collection
  4. and a note about the Circulating Maker Kits, including a list of what types of kits are available

Cost

As a very rough estimate I would say that we have spent around $2,000 purchasing Legos, Little Bits, Button Makers, storage items, craft supplies, etc. Some of the pieces will need replenishing, like the button components. Others are a fixed cost which will help keep the overall price over time down. Since it is easily repeated over time with increasingly smaller investments, I think it will even out to be a pretty cost effective program. It’s also important to note that the various pieces and parts can be used in other programs. I have already, for example, used the button making machine in a teen program and used the Legos in two other teen programs. So there is a lot of versatility.

Final Thoughts

I can say that it is hands down one of my favorite programming experiences ever. It allowed a lot of opportunity for hands on exploration, self expression, and social interaction. Lots of people tried new things and learned something new. We all had a great time and I am looking for to next Monday to repeat the experience.

MakerSpace Notes

My Original Mobile Makerspace
My Updated Mobile Makerspace
MakerSpace Tech Tools Comparison Chart
The Unboxing and Learning Curve
Exploring Circulating Maker Kits and Circulating Maker Kits part 2 with a Book List
The Maker Bookshelf/Collection (with a book list)
Strawbees part 1 and part 2
Things I Learned Visiting the Cincinnati MakerSpace: Fun with Buttons! Edition
Creating and Using an iPad Lab in Your Library
Take 5: 5 Tools for Movie Making in Your MakerSpace
Take 5: The Robot Test Kitchen Reading List
What I Learned from the Cincinnati MakerSpace part 2, Maker Mondays edition

Comments

  1. Oh, I wish I could have come! It looks like an amazing time for everyone. I will have to investigate our public library programs to see if anything like this exists. I do a lot of origami with my middle school students and that might be a fun thing to add.

  2. Karen, I really appreciate all your makerspace posts and ideas. I have used several this summer as well as tweaked others to fit our needs. I also just purchased a mobile cart similar to yours to make it a bit easier to move craft stuff back and forth. Thanks!

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