Makerspace, the BD edition

I’m about to go to Rhode Island to talk about content creation in libraries at a conference, so I’ve been whipping up a powerpoint. A couple of days ago I simply googled “makerspace” so I could loot images from unsuspecting websites* and right there, halfway through the second page of hits was this:

This is exactly why I’ve been harping on this subject to anyone I could corner for years now: If libraries don’t get off their collective asses, some enterprising person will create a for-profit version of what we SHOULD be.

This makerspace will be cool for those with the money to join, but probably once again widen the have/have-not divide in tech & information. I mean, it will be wonderful for middle-class white geeks like my family, who can throw down some cash for a few hours at the Arduino workbench (yeah, I don’t actually know what that is, either.)

See, I’m thrilled about this potential makerspace right in my hometown of 16,000. But HOW STUPID are we (librarians) not to already be all over this bandwagon? So I guess I’m more thrillgusted than entirely thrilled, or entirely disgusted with my own colleagues (who seem to worry more about how many “shades of grey” they should or should not buy).

We (the city) have a perfectly good library building ideally situated for makerspace activities in downtown BD, with a fairly empty basement (I think) but I can’t see this library forming a makerspace partnership anytime soon. They’re pretty anti-crazyfunstuff at the BD library.

So. Free shared resource potential, probably down the tubes. I hope I’m wrong! I hope I’m all cranky for no good reason, and a brilliant and amazing makerspace partnership happens with the BD library.  Note to all my librarian friends: If a (I’m sorry, I even live here) fairly lame-o, conservative, small town like BD is looking at building a makerspace, than this production revolution is REAL, not a fad or another chance for librarians to do our ostrich thing, then pout when we’re left out of the loop, a la ebooks.

By the way,  I just ordered a Canopus VHS converter and a Canon slide/photo scanner, so my library’s digital media lab will hopefully be luring the older members of my library community to the Lomira >EnterCorporateSponsorNameHere< Community Library. Hopefully. And at least I’m trying to LOCATE the bandwagon, right?

And by the “by the way” (or post-post-script) was finding the BeaverDamMakerspace website this evidence of creepy Google knowing from whence I was searching? I don’t think so–I have all sorts of ‘track-me-not’ stuff running on my browser, and there were results from all over the country before this one. I just honestly think Beaver Dam, WI is THAT happening and cool (or, OK, some of the inhabitants are, like Mr. Jason Gullikson, who is the ringleader on this excellent project).

*I do add photo credits and aim for cc licensed works, but this ppt is for educational use and I am totally claiming fair use.


When Borders dies…

A commentor on the NPR story noted

In many parts of this country, stores like Borders and Barnes&Noble are the closest thing to a “hip”, cosmopolitan space for reading and discussion. I hope rural and suburban America does not get dumber because of this kind of development.

And I have to wonder what the hell has gone wrong in our libraries that people are saying that a store closing will dumb down rural and suburban communities.  Seriously, libraries aren’t as “hip” and “cosmopolitan”?!