The Evanston Public Library has been named a charter member of the New Faces of Library Makerspaces project, a collaboration to build a diverse collective of library makerspace professionals to share ideas and grow makerspaces across the country.
Makerspaces can take several forms, from dedicated spaces with tools and materials for building and creating, like the EPL’s 3D printer, to community events like Evanston’s annual Cardboard Carnival, a series of challenges to code and construct games. A makerspace can be any space where people work with physical objects to design, construct, and problem solve to make something new.
The New Faces of Library Makerspaces project is designed to help makerspaces grow in libraries across the country.
As a charter member of the New Faces of Library Makerspaces, the library will work with other charter members to define the vision for this new organization and design the first platforms for interacting and sharing resources.
Charter members will serve as mentors for other libraries to help build their capacity to create community-centered maker programming. STEM Experiences Library Assistant Kennedy Joseph and Teen Engagement Coordinator Elacsha Madison will lead the EPL’s contributions to the new collaboration.
The Evanston Public Library was selected from among 31 applicants, and charter member libraries were selected based on several criteria, including geographic diversity, strong interlibrary networks, progress in justice, equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and types of maker programming offered both before and during the pandemic.
The EPL joins Berryville (Arkansas) Public Library, Providence (Rhode Island) Public Library, Pikes Peak (Colorado) Library District, Cameron (Missouri) Public Library, San Mateo (California) County Libraries, and Greene (Ohio) County Public Library in the venture.
“Makerspaces engage students with problem-solving skills, introduce them to the engineering process, and can spark their interest in STEM fields in a fun environment,” Renee Neumeier, EPL’s Innovation and Digital Learning Manager said. “We’re really excited to collaborate with other libraries doing this work to share ideas and resources that can benefit both our patrons and kids around the country.”
For more information on makerspace programs and services offered by the Evanston Public Library, visit www.epl.org. For more on the New Faces of Makerspaces collective, visit www.makersinthelibrary.org.