National Forum: Research and Assessment in Library Makerspaces

With the generous support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Maker Ed were delighted to bring together leaders in maker-centered learning to review and distill current research relevant to maker-based learning experiences in libraries, identify gaps, and communicate the research in a way to be useful for library practice.

This National Forum on Research and Assessment in Library Makerspaces included library practitioners working on maker education programs from rural, suburban and urban libraries from a broad sample of geographic regions. It also invited researchers, evaluators, practitioners from other formal and informal learning environments, and policymakers whose work it is to study, design, and support maker-based learning experiences in libraries.

Hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Education and Education Outreach & Partnerships, the Forum took place in early summer on August 6-7, 2019 for 1.5 days (preceding the Play, Make, Learn conference!).

Leading up to the event and in follow-up to it, a subcommittee of members, including those from Maker Ed and University of Wisconsin-Madison, worked on a white paper, showcasing themes, findings, and gaps in research related to makerspaces and libraries. The white paper entitled “Opportunities and Vignettes for Library Makerspaces” is hosted in a new “Research, Reports, and Evaluation” resource category on Maker Ed’s online Resource Library, alongside key articles, reports, and papers related to the work. These freely available resources should help inform the development, refinement and evaluation of maker-based learning experiences in libraries and learning environments around the country.