Setting up a Makerspace – Part 3

Noosa Library Service has a new Makerspace. In this three part series Tracey King (Literacy and Learning Coordinator, Noosa Library Service) shares insights and learnings from making it happen. 

Client using a sewing machine

Donna, a Cooroy Maker who visits weekly to mend or make new clothes

  • Work towards building a Maker Community- We knew at the start of this project that it was vital to build a Maker Community – a group of people who wanted to use the space independently and would help other makers overcome any obstacles using the technology. The question was how to do this?  Some strategies we have used include:
  • Promoted the space to our library volunteer friends groups and offered free induction and membership.
  • Used our local connections to source experts in the specific technology fields and funded them through other grant funding to deliver workshops and/or be a Maker in Residence.
  • Created a closed Facebook group where makers can interact with each other.
  • Provided a pin board and whiteboard in the space to aid communication. (and soon to come will be a camera so makers can take photos of their work and show others)
  • Sent monthly update emails to members about events, tech problems and/or other makers experiences.
  • Hosted a weekly “See the Space” afternoon to showcase the space and encourage makers to meet.
  • Spoke to everyone who enquired! It is important to build your own local maker community but also to help others start theirs.  We made sure that we spoke to anyone who enquired about the space.  We had enquiries from local primary and high schools – both State and Private, other Councils, public libraries and creative studios and have conducted numerous tours for interested organisations.
Staff training in the Makerspace

Staff training

  • Bring your team on the journey – While the Noosa Library team continue to provide advice on using smart phones and working the photocopier, they also now need to field questions about how to remove a 3D printed object or change filament! So how did we manage this?  Firstly, we created an internal Project Team which included a range of different skill sets to create and develop the space and programs.  We had champions who started in earnest learning the new technology.  We also delivered initial demonstrations of the different types of technology to all permanent staff and we have just started a weekly training session for staff to attend. The library champions now have enough skills to on-train other staff. Continuing to up-skill library staff is and will be an on-going and challenging element of working with new technologies.  I believe the success of our Makerspace has been largely due to the passion and determination of the Noosa library team.  It takes courage to take a risk and create something that is not available elsewhere in the region, using new and emerging technology that you’ve never used before.  Don’t be deterred! Noosa Library Service did it and so can you!

Noosa Library Service will be launching its second Makerspace located within the newly refurbished Noosaville Library in December 2018.

About the Author:

Tracey King is the Literacy and Learning Coordinator for Noosa Library Service.  Tracey is passionate about creating strong local partnerships and programs that facilitate learning and creative communities.  Tracey has over 20 years’ experience in the library industry and has led the creation and development of the Cooroy Makerspace.