This panel will discuss how libraries promote active community engagement through Makerspaces. A Makerspace is a place for community members to engage in creative making activities in a range of domains, offering access to fabrication technologies and social opportunities with other Makers. Community engagement is the key to success. Several library Makerspaces are currently practicing innovative approaches to engaging their communities. However, there seems to be a lack of consensus regarding what social responsibilities library Makerspaces must assume in today’s society. The panel proposes the following overarching questions:
The five research projects featured in this panel answer these questions, presenting innovative approaches to community engagement. The presentations will explore how Makerspaces meet the needs of community members regardless of location through mobile Makerspaces, methods for reaching out and supporting underserved populations, including court-involved teens, as well as the development of young people’s social responsibilities and critical technical practices. The panel also includes suggestions for LIS researchers and educators regarding a research approach to engaging communities and competencies for Makerspace professionals that must be cultivated in LIS higher education.
The panel will begin with a brief introduction connecting practices in Makerspaces to this year’s conference theme (5 minutes). A presentation on each project will follow (10 minutes per project). During the final 35 minutes the presenters will engage with the audience, opening the floor to questions and discussions about the implications for LIS educators and researchers.