Put a Makerspace in Your Library

Sep 16, 2020

Coming to a school or library near you! The University of Wyoming College of Engineering & Applied Science’s Innovation Wyrkshop will be building five new $35,000 mini-makerspaces across Wyoming aimed at high school students and young adults with disabilities, thanks to a $175,000 grant from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Public, school, and community college libraries are encouraged to apply. While there is no set deadline, once five locations have been chosen, the application will close.

Libraries should know they don’t have to do the heavy lifting! According to Tyler Kerr, UW Innovation Wyrkshop Makerspace Coordinator,they’ll procure and set up the equipment, they’ve already developed the training through their Makerspace Access Pass program, and they’ll hire and fund the student staff.

“We’ve received feedback from a few locations that seem to think that they’ll need to set up everything and bring in trained professionals to run them,” Tyler said, “but that’s not the case!  All we need is a small location to house the makerspace and a few excited educators and students willing to use it and potentially share what they’re passionate about.”

The name of the game is lowering barriers to access and increasing tech literacies and marketable skills. Each new makerspace will be equipped with 3D printers, sewing machines, laser cutters, laptops, computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D modeling software, introductory electronics bench equipment, and a small workbench with enough woodshop tools to make a wide variety of personal projects. These spaces will also provide opportunities for real-world work experience by hiring high school students as makerspace team leaders to help coordinate activities and maintain the new spaces. Each new space will also provide a small stipend for interested educators to host workshops and encourage engagement.

Questions? Contact Tyler at tkerr1@uwyo.edu or (307) 766-6460.

For a librarian’s perspective, you can also contact Cass Kvenild, UW Associate Dean, Education & Research Services, at CKvenild@uwyo.edu. Cass said UW Libraries have partnered successfully with Tyler and the Wyrkshop Makerspace in the past and would be happy to share their experiences.

If you have a question about this or any other article, please contact us at statelibrary@wyo.gov

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