Monday, August 24, 2015

My review of Makerspaces in libraries by Theresa Willingham and @jtdeboer

Makerspaces in librariesMakerspaces in libraries by Theresa Willingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book provides a solid and helpful introduction to a particular interpretation of makerspaces in libraries. It has very good references to the information talked about so that it would be very easy to seek further information.

There are useful checklists of things to consider when planning makerspaces (and often when planning anything) in a library. The importance of bringing staff with you on the ideas are also addressed. The case studies from the USA, Europe and UK provide helpful perspectives, as well as more resources to explore via the links about them. The case studies highlight different approached to running library makerspaces, including whether volunteers or staff are used. There are also some detailed program examples so you could work your way through these in your library or community.

Many libraries have implemented much more diverse makerspaces, and this book does not focus on them, or include them. It also seems to dwell on a perceived dichotomy between makerspaces/fab labs and everything else libraries do, whereas I see them more as a continuum. That said, it is a very useful introduction to library makerspaces, and would help people start to think through strategies for their library.

It is a tough area to be writing in as more examples and interpretations are available all the time. Specific technology is mentioned, so read this book soon. I is a fast read. The authors did a good job with these challenges.

On the book the authors are both listed, so I would like to acknowledge the work of Theresa Willingham and Jeroen de Boer as they are both not mentioned on Goodreads.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful review of our book, Makerspaces in Libraries. While we see makerspaces as a continuum, as well, the questions always come up as to the differences between the different names or terms for spaces, and we think history is important, as well. We agree, however, that, with the possible exception of "FabLabs", the differences can be quite subtle.

    As you note, the increasingly ubiquitous makerspace is becoming a seamless part of many libraries and in many cases, will no doubt become an integrated part of the modern library, like a teen room or a study room. Regarding the libraries reviewed in the book, those are the libraries that responded to requests to share their insights and experiences, and we're very grateful to these fine libraries and amazing librarians for taking the time to share their passion and best practices.

    We hope readers enjoy and benefit from Makerspaces in Libraries and we can't wait to see the next generation of creative library spaces! Both Jeroen and I are always happy to chat, and you can find more resources for creative space development at my site at and at Fryklab -

    Thank you again!