Transform Your Library with a (Low-Budget!) Makerspace

Photo by ShakataGaNai. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. (Wikimedia Commons)

You may have heard of “maker” programs before, but, due to cost constraints, thought they were out of the realm of possibility for your own library. Think again.

Aided by new technologies like 3-D printers, maker programs emphasize both physical and digital creations, from simple arts and crafts programs to robots, advanced graphic design, and 3-D modeling. Creating a dedicated “Makerspace” of your own can help promote these activities, while encouraging a creative, do-it-yourself culture throughout your library and greater community.

Low-Tech, High-Impact Learning

But for libraries that don’t have the resources to purchase a 3-D printer or build their dream makerspaces, this School Library Journal piece offers some great ideas for providing low-tech, high-impact maker programming.

Turns out, many of the programs libraries have been offering for years—arts and crafts or sewing and cooking classes, for instance—are already highly creative activities that can easily be re-branded with the “maker” label. Other inexpensive ideas, such as offering free time with Legos, Tinker Toys, or simple craft materials, are great ways to support imaginative thinking, spatial reasoning, and other important skills.

More Than a Buzzword

The maker label is more than just a buzzword, it’s a movement of educators, parents, and kids to promote creativity and empowerment through experiential learning. By providing opportunities for your patrons to create, build, and connect with each other, a makerspace can transform your library, making it not just a place to read and learn, but also a place to create and do.

Next Steps?

For some great makerspace project ideas, explore the resources below, and stay tuned. Soon, we’ll also be posting tips for finding makerspace funding.

2 thoughts on “Transform Your Library with a (Low-Budget!) Makerspace

  1. Patricia Loew

    I’m interested in maker space idea’s for my students in the library,especially if I can relate them to books . I’m in an elementary school.

    1. Susan Brackney

      Hi Patricia,

      There is a relatively new online resource for library maker programming that you might like. Check out “Make it @ Your Library” at

      It is a partnership between ALA and The site, curated by librarians, provides low-cost program ideas specifically geared for libraries.

      Thanks for posting!
      Susan at Evanced


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