Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

The Cart is the Thing: Making a Magnetic Mobile MakerSpace Wall When You’re Short on Space

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I spend a lot of time visiting other libraries and talking to my fellow librarians. I like to see what other libraries are doing and find new and creative ways to provide services, organize spaces, decorate, merchandise and more. I recently was visiting a smaller branch where the librarian was talking about how they wanted to do a wide variety of things but they just didn’t have the space. And I had one of those light bulb moments.

In a previous library position, I had a mobile MakerSpace cart that I kept in a storage closet and rolled into the one and only meeting room for weekly maker activities. The trick was, I would still need space to spread out and allow participants to make. This branch does not have that luxury. So I suggested a Lego wall, but a brief look around the room revealed that there was zero wall space. So what, I thought, about a Lego wall cart?

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You would need a slender, metal booktruck cart with complete or fuller walls on the backside. Put strong – super strong – magnets on the back side of green Lego building plates. I would use E600 glue and give it a few days to dry. You then can put the magnetic Lego plates on the back of the booktruck cart with a small box of Legos on the shelves. Place the “Lego wall” at the end of the shelf and presto – you have a mobile Lego wall. I know that this idea will work because before we built our own Lego wall at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, we made a magnetic Lego wall on the side of one of the metal tool chests we had in the Teen Makerspace. The bonus is that a book cart is slender and takes up a little space as conceivably possible while still providing libraries with a way to get patrons making.

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But since we’re using magnets and our Lego plates are easily removable, we don’t have to limit ourselves to Lego walls. You can put out Magnatiles, magnetic poetry kits, Tumble Trax marble mazes, and more. Basically, whatever you can stick a magnet on and stick to a wall, you can stick onto the back of a book truck cart as long as you have enough backspace to do so. You’ll want to always be aware of safety issues, like choking hazards and location, and make sure you are using strong enough magnets to support the weight of the item you want to stick to the “wall”.

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