This blog was originally published on the WebWise 2014 blog. By Tim Carrigan Senior Library Program Officer
Attendees at WebWise 2013 participate in a “maker space” workshop.

At WebWise this year, we’re excited to highlight many exciting projects that draw attention to museums' and libraries’ participation in the maker movement throughout the program.  On Tuesday, February 11th, we will highlight four IMLS-funded projects that have explored the potential for makerspaces to act as community anchors. For the uninitiated, makerspaces are part of a growing movement of hands-on, mentor-led learning environments to make and remake the physical and digital worlds. They foster experimentation, invention, creation, exploration, and STEM learning.  As museums and libraries nationwide imagine new service models and strategies for deeper community engagement, many are choosing to create programs and spaces based on the maker movement, making this a perfect topic for further exploration at WebWise. While there has certainly been a great deal of interest generated in the museum and library fields around makerspaces over the past few years, there are still many questions, specifically around issues of professional development, evaluation, sustainability, and institutional philosophies of making.  At Tuesday’s plenary session, our panelists will address how four diverse organizations are approaching these issues and more.  Moderated by IMLS senior program officer Tim Carrigan, the session will feature the following museum and library professionals, who are experienced in the establishment and management of museum and library maker spaces: · Erica Compton, Project Director, Idaho Commission for Libraries · Bill Derry, Assistant Director for Innovation and User Experience, Westport Public Library · Rebecca Grabman, MAKE Shop Manager, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh · Andrew Haight, Director of Guest Engagement, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry Each of our speakers represent institutions that are recipients of IMLS grant funds utilized to expand maker programs within their institutions.  They’re looking forward to sharing best practices, lessons learned, and challenges and opportunities they face in their institutions and communities as they expand their programming in exciting new directions.  After introductory remarks, the session will take a conversational tone, and there will be ample time allotted for dialogue amongst the speakers and with audience members.  The panel looks forward to sharing their experiences and answering your questions.  Are you interested in learning more about the maker movement?  Want to discovery ways to leverage new tools and technology to better engage your audience?   Considering creating a maker space within your institution but not sure what to think about or what resources might be available?  Then be sure not to miss this exciting session. If you would like to learn more about makerspaces, read the IMLS’s Talking Points: Museums, Libraries, and Makerspaces.