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Libraries Use Makerspaces, Social Engagement to Become ‘Third Places’

Libraries Use Makerspaces, Social Engagement to Become ‘Third Places’

If it’s not your school/work and it’s not your home, it’s your ‘third place,’ and this is what libraries across the country are aiming to be by emphasizing their role in creating community engagement, says

“...there's something rewarding about sharing that activity with others. It's the same as the kids who come in to build with Legos. Most of them probably have tons of Legos at home, but when they come to the library to build, they are engaging with others,” said one New York library director, Geoffrey Kirkpatrick , to The Times Union.

This is the same idea for libraries that are increasingly developing their own makerspaces, or areas designated for students to build and create. More and more frequently, libraries are investing in 3D printers and similar advanced technology that can help students engage each other through activities rooted in innovation.

According to EdTech Magazine, the increase of makerspaces in libraries is helping the library fit into the modern world.

"While the value of time spent tinkering may not be immediately apparent to some, makerspace proponents say hands-on work helps students hone their critical-thinking and problem-solving abilities, all while encouraging them to collaborate with peers. With those competencies in their toolkit, students can more easily navigate the STEM education network and, eventually, the workplace,” EdTech Magazine says.

The Times Union article also brings up another reason libraries have become incredibly important in communities- through being providers of Wi-Fi.

The Keene Valley Library, for example, is situated in a mountain community and serves as one of few reliable providers of Wi-Fi.

Not only is this important in rural communities, it’s also important in urban areas where home access to Wi-Fi can be limited for students who need access for homework purposes.

In other words, while the encyclopedias might be collecting dust, the library has made sure that as an institution, it won’t be.

Read the full story. 

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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