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IST 605: Makerspaces 101

Resources for librarians and educators about makerspaces.

What is a Makerspace?

There is no one definition of what a makerspace is. Everyone has their own definition of how they define a makerspace. Although, most makerspace definitions have three common themes: it enables making, it is a collaborative space, and it fosters creativity and learning. Redina, an experienced school librarian who has authored numerous resources about makerspaces, defines a makerspace as "a place where students can gather to create, tinker, explore and discover using a variety of tools and materials" (Redina, 2015). Makerspaces are very unique and no two makerspaces are exactly alike. Additionally, there is no one form of making that is more valid or better than others. Instead makers are artists, painters, knitters, seamstresses, builders, inventors, programmers, engineers, hackers, graphic designers, bakers, woodworkers, inventors, and more.

Defining Makerspaces: What The Research Says

Defining Makerspaces: What the Research Says is an article written by Diana Redina that was published on her Renovated Learning blog. Diana Redina is an experienced school librarian who works in an independent 6-12 school in Tampa, Florida. Prior to working in school libraries, Redina worked in public libraries. Redina shares her love of librarianship and makerspaces in her blog to educate other educators and librarians. The Defining Makerspaces: What the Research Says article discusses the research Redina found on her quest to defining the word–makerspace.

  • Click here to check out some of Redina's other makerspace resources.

Why Have a Makerspace?

This video discusses how makerspaces help to cultivate skills like creative problem solving in students. These collaborative learning spaces allow for students to develop multiple skills at once. Skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and social and emotional skills will be developed within makerspaces as students explore and learn through hands-on tasks. Makerspaces allow for student choice and autonomy and are safe and positive learning environments which allows for students to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. Due to this, students will feel empowered to continually get better in their learning which is known as having a growth mindset.

In this Ted Talk, Harish Srinivasan is talking about the importance of makerspaces for children. Srinivasan is a learning experience designer who hopes to reimagine education through hands-on learning approaches. Srinivasan is also the co-founder of Infinite Engineers and as the co-founder he spearheads a movement of building makerspaces in schools all across the country. Through these makerspaces, he hopes that children learn to refine and materialize their ideas, inducing a makers mindset that will hopefully one day inspire social change.

The Impact of the Maker Movement

The Impact of the Maker Movement article published in the Society of Women Engineers' winter of 2023 magazine highlights some of the important impacts of the maker movement and makerspaces. This article gives a brief history behind the maker movement and makerspaces and then discusses some of the importances of makerspaces. Some benefits of these collaborative learning spaces are that they help to spark an interest in STEM and the arts, as well as in learning as a whole. Additionally, makerspaces can be aligned with academic curriculum and since making requires a collaborative, student-centered, hands-on learning approach, students will most likely feel more motivated, interested, and engaged in learning. This article also focuses on makerspaces centering on inclusivity of all individuals. 

5 Reasons Makerspaces Belong in School Libraries

This article written by Diana Redina, an experienced school librarian, discusses why makerspaces belong in the school library and examines some of the benefits these makerspaces have on makerspace users. Redina discusses that makerspaces allow for all students to have access to resources, the educational value of play, the connection and alignment between curriculum and makerspaces, and the ever-changing library. This article written by Diana Redina was published on Demco, a trusted and widely-used resource among school librarians.

The Benefits of a Makerspace Learning Environment

This article published on the Walden University website explores five different reasons why makerspaces are beneficial to students and why they should be included within learning environments. This article also briefs discusses the alignment between making and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards.

Examples of Makerspaces in Libraries and Classrooms

@teachoutsidethebox (Bigley, 2019)


@mcknightsmunchkins (McKnight, n.d.)

(Calallen Middle School, n.d.)

Find Out More About Makerspaces

How to Start a Makerspace When You're Broke

This is another article written by Diana Redina, an experienced school librarian, that was published in Knowledge Quest. In this article, Redina discusses some ways in which school librarians can build a makerspace with little to no funds. Redina offers multiple suggestions for this including making sure to share you vision with the school community, seek out donations, work with what you already have, or crowdfund.

Important Quotes

"Makerspaces come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve as a gathering point for tools, projects, mentors and expertise. A collection of tools does not define a makerspace. Rather, we define it by what it enables: making." - The Makerspace Playbook