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CODE4LIB  August 2012

CODE4LIB August 2012

Subject:

Re: Maker Spaces and Academic Libraries

From:

BWS Johnson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

BWS Johnson <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 27 Aug 2012 06:44:20 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (52 lines)

Salvete!

    Can't. Resist. Bait. Batman.


> Can anyone on the list help clarify for me why, in an academic setting,
> this kind of equipment and facility isn't part of a laboratory in an
> academic department?
> 

    I'd say that I hate to play devil's advocate, but that would be a patent misrepresentation of material fact.

    Conversely, could you please tell us why you think it *shouldn't* be at the Library?

    I can think of several reasons why it *ought* to be:

1) Having this space exist at the Library and not in a given department might well extend the hours of use beyond what a given faculty could afford on its own better serving students and faculty.

2) Having this space exist at the Library promotes interdisciplinary interaction which could serve as a catalyst for research. This might not happen as readily within the bubble of one's academic department. Both students and staff would benefit from keeping an eye on one's neighbour as Steven Johnson outlines in Emergence. (No relationship)

3) Having the equipment at the Library would save the University money since each department wouldn't have to buy their own $1400 makerbot replicator, et cetera.

4) Given an academic setting that is also in itself a laboratory, such as an engineering or technical school, wouldn't this be the natural spot for it?

5) Given that some academic libraries are often cited on poor customer service, defaulting to yes is preferable to defaulting to no.

> Don't get me wrong I am *way* into access to tools, but I remember when I
> went to art school that the building had a shop in it.  The shop had a
> woodshop, welders, metal lathes, etc.  And it belonged there, not in the
> library- because it supported what that department was all about.
> 

    Are we to drop our duties as soon as hands enter the picture? I don't like the idea that work with one's mind is valued more highly than work with one's hands.

    I can see how this is easier to frame in a public setting: Anyone can learn anything at anytime. However I fail to see how it _wouldn't_ further learning in an academic setting. While mission statements vary, it's not unusual as a consultant for me to spot summat like "fosters collaboration" or "performs outreach" or "assists in learning" for an academic library. Your mileage may vary, since all mission statements are equal, but some are more equal than others.


> Are makerspaces in academic libraries examples of libraries picking up
> slack that academic departments should be dealing with?
> 

    Again, I tend to think of this as cost savings for the University on the whole. It also seems like a great idea in terms of fundraising and long term gain. For folks that aren't keen on accepting the costs, perhaps they can sit down with department chairs and divide things up. Extra points for collaboration with vocational schools in the area.


> I ask this with zero snark, I genuinely want to hear some thoughts on
> this...
> 

    Respect was intended in my reply.

Cheers,
Brooke

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