Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Nashville MakerSpaces!

Recently, we planned a Nashville MakerSpace tour. Several of our school libraries and the Nashville Public Library have embraced this idea and are creating spaces all over the city for our children and teens. A group of about 20 of us traveled the city and visited four libraries who have incorporated varying levels of MakerSpaces into their library programming.

Here is some advice from the librarians who have jumped in to make this trend come alive in our city.

1. Know your students and start small!

Our first stop was at Hume Fogg Academic Magnet high school. The librarian, Amanda (@asmithfield), took a small nook in her library and turned it into a Creation Station. She knows her students very well and wanted to offer supplies and a space that would benefit their needs. Without a big budget, the Creation Station isn't heavy on technology but offers plenty of resources for students to get creative! During school hours they can use the supplies for class projects and outside of class times (before/after school and during lunch) the students can create and work on personal projects. 

2. Create a space that you can connect with young people and provide them an opportunity for out of the classroom learning.

Our next stop was the Main branch of Nashville Public Library (NPL) in downtown Nashville. Elyse Adler and Adrienne Strock gave us a sneak peek of their teen MakerSpace. The space, named The Studio, is opening up in 2015 and our tour guides discussed their planning process and intentions for the space. It will be a high-tech space meant to be a place for students to come geek out and have fun while learning new skills. They see The Studio as an informal learning environment that can build new skills and knowledge for the students it serves. Ideally, what teens do in The Studio will transfer and have a positive impact on their academic work as well. 

3. Start slow and take the time to get familiar with the equipment.

Our third stop was NPL's Southeast branch located in Antioch, TN. There, Kyle Barber, gave us a tour of the new library and the MakerSpace that is located there. Like the Main branch, students will have a space to play and learn. As they were planning and getting ready to open, the staff had some new equipment (3-D printer for one!) that they weren't that familiar with and were hesitant to have out for teens to use. The staff made the effort to use the equipment and get familiar with it so that as more and more students want to use the space, the staff is ready to support the teens’ creativity and new learning.

4. Forgive yourself! 

Our last stop was one of our newly renovated MNPS libraries at Apollo Middle School. The librarian, Allison (@apolloreader), said to forgive yourself! When her new library opened and she had her first MakerSpace, she wanted to do it all! However, she quickly realized that wasn't going to be possible. So, she slowed down and started taking baby steps to get the space up and running. She thought through her procedures and found ways to get students access to the space and the equipment without adding any unnecessary stress to herself or her clerk.

In closing, whether you start big or start small...just get started! Here are a few additional resources to help...

Low Tech, High Gains: Starting a Maker Program Is Easier Than You Think

Talking Points: Museums, Libraries, and MakerSpaces


Follow us on Pinterest for MakerSpace inspiration!

Team Library

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Top 25-things you need to know about doing a Library Renovation

When I started writing a blog about the renovation, I ended up with a really dry essay which pretty much detailed the entire process from start to finish.  However, I know that time is precious and I thought you all would instead enjoy a Buzzfeed –style list!  If you really want the nitty-gritty details, email me—I’m more than happy to answer any questions, or sit down and chat with you!
  1. In the words of the venerable Tricia Bengal (Limitless Libraries), the last 20 items on the punch list will take the longest to complete.

  2. Having another person in your exact position going through this with you is absolutely invaluable.  (I love you, Melissa Raines).  This process would have been a thousand times harder without someone to bounce ideas off of, text progress photos with, problem-solve with, and occasionally vent with.
  3. Having an administrator who is completely involved in the process and only missed 1 construction meeting throughout this ENTIRE year-long process is the very reason why I believe Apollo deserved this renovation.  Cherish Piche was a HUGE resource for someone new to the school and she has been such an amazing supporter and instigator on this project, and she represented Apollo’s administration extremely well.

  4. A good contractor makes all the difference in the world.  I know both Melissa and I would agree to that.  (We love you Micah and Jody!)

  5. When they say it will be done August 1, that really means about September 1st.  And even then, not everything will be done by a long shot, but you will let kids in because you want them in the new space and you’re tired of telling them it is still closed.

  6.  Signage WILL be the bane of your existence, no matter how early you order it, it probably won’t be in before the Grand opening.  BUT, in the end, it will look absolutely AMAZING and be a real stunner in your space.

  7. Strong men will help move your books off of and back on to the shelves, which is AWESOME.  My recommendations for this are to WEED, WEED, WEED beforehand (I came in to the project too late to do this, but I did do a massive weed as soon as the books were on the shelves).

  8. Have a plan for where you want to place materials back on the shelves, because you will feel bad when you make a change that means the strong men have to shift ALL of the books over again.  But they will do it (and if you bring them doughnuts, they’ll smile and at least tell you it wasn’t as bad as moving the books at Austin Peay was). 

  9.  Don’t have a book fair before the library is even technically open.  Mine was fine (actually, it was GREAT, more than double the year before), but it was a LOT of added stress and in hindsight, I may have been crazy to do that. 

  10.  Grand openings are amazing. The mayor will bring his own podium, everyone is happy and impressed, and you will get to give the mayor a tour of the new space.  But the best part is that you get to use the giant scissors to cut the official ribbon. 

  11.  If you thought your library was busy before, prepare for it to be even busier.  Now, more than ever before, you MUST have a clerk and you should work together with them to set out new policies about the new technology.  I’m grateful for mine every day.

  12.  You will get a THOUSAND keys by the end of the process—to your office, to the classroom, to the outside doors, to the alarms, to the charging lockers, to the cabinets, to more cabinets, to those cabinets that have 4 keyholes each and 4 separate keys for them.  I recommend using sharpies and clear nail polish to label them.

  13.  You will probably rearrange the furniture a thousand times, and that is okay.  Eventually you’ll get it right, and if you don’t, having furniture on wheels helps tremendously.

  14.  You will be consulted on the placement of technology, sizes of items, furniture, wall colors, etc., and it’s sometimes stressful to make sure you are ordering the right items, but just breathe and know that it will all work out, especially since Tricia Bengal and Allison Barney (Limitless Libraries) are there to help you out, since they’ve done several renovations before. 
  15.  School Dude is an actual program in which school work orders are created...it is not a silly name for the maintenance workers in MNPS.

  16.  You will gain a new vocabulary, which may include any of the following:
    a.  Slatwall- hanging slatted wall in which display posters can go.
    b.  Swingframes—movie-theatre like frames for displaying posters, etc. 

    c.  Punch List—the massive list you make of all the things that need to be finished up to make the renovation complete. 
    d.  VBrick—A device used to record things and send them out to a portal online. 
    e.  Useeview—A cool program that allows you to send out scrolling items and announcements on your school televisions.
    f.  Makerbot—the brand of 3D printer that we purchased.  It’s amazing. 
    g.  Extruder - the portion of hte makerbot that melts the plastic and funnels it into the design. Ours and DuPont Tyler's broke early on, and we had to purchase new ones. Make sure you update the software often to help this not happen.
    h. Ceiling clouds- ceiling tiles that float above and add visual interest.
    i. MakeyMakey- a neat circuit-building toy that the kids can use to do all sorts of cool things, like use play-doh to do computer commands!

  17. If given the choice, buy the heavy magnetic bookends and not the light cork ones.  They hold the books better and make the shelves look nice.
  18. Teach your teachers about the space—it seems obvious to share with students all the new rules/procedures/cool  new things in the library, but make sure you also share those resources with the teachers. 
  19.  Mount your Ipads into studs.  Otherwise, they will come off the wall.

  20. Having a TSS (Technology Support Specialist) who will lock up your electronic deliveries throughout the summer and during the renovation is key—you will be “homeless” for a while during the renovation, so make sure you know where your deliveries and electronics are going.
  21.  You will be responsible for making and installing all of your new shelving signage.  Just be prepared for that—it’s a process! 
  22.  Make a folder in your email for all construction-related emails.  You will have SOOOOOOOO many of them.

  23.  Did I mention that you get to cut the ribbon in the grand opening?

  24.  It’s December 1st and still not everything is done.  But it is a beautiful space and everyone loves it, especially me.  I could not be happier, and at least once a day, the kids comment that they want to live in the library.  That’s the biggest win of all.

  25.  Enjoy the ride.  I’m still changing things, adding things, and learning about the new technology.   Fortunately, I had SO much help and so many awesome people on the team making this happen.  A hearty THANK you to Adam, Melissa, Steve Clendenin, Jennifer, Tricia, Allison, Cherish, Jon Hubble,  Stephanie, Micah, Nicole, Don,  Kecia, Elyse, John Teeter, Crissy, Joe Edgens, and Steve Ide (and I really hope I didn’t miss anyone!)
Guest Blogger-
Alison Maliszewski
Teacher-Librarian at Apollo Middle School