June 18, 2014


IMLS Press Contact
Giuliana Bullard, 202-653-4799

Museums and Libraries in the Middle of the Maker Movement

As part of the first White House Maker Faire, IMLS announces support for making
across the nation’s community centers of learning

Washington, DC—Among the guests at the first White House Maker Faire today is IMLS Director Susan H. Hildreth, who is representing the many libraries and museums around the country engaged in the Maker movement. Nationwide, libraries and museums are opening their doors to making, supported by new programming and investments from the Institute for Museum and Library Services and its partners. IMLS, the lead federal agency that supports the vitality of America’ s libraries and museums, invests in making at the institutional and national levels with funding for research and projects that place museums and libraries at the center of this participatory, hands-on learning movement.

Director Hildreth said, “I am so pleased that President Obama is supporting makers. This is a grassroots trend that is igniting new passions and inspiring people to explore new career paths. As trusted community centers for lifelong learning, libraries and museums are essential in this movement, and we are proud to be supporting their efforts.”

For more information on the White House Maker Faire and the National Day of Making, visit www.whitehouse.gov/makerfaire and follow #NationofMakers on Twitter.

IMLS and the Mozilla Foundation are teaming up this summer to help libraries and museums to collaborate with other community organizations to hostmaker parties—volunteer-led events that teach web literacy through play and hands-on making. The goal of this partnership is to teach the culture, mechanics, and citizenship of the web—key skills for the future. Mozilla will train 100 lead librarians and museum professionals from across the country via online training this spring to certify them as digital literacy skills trainers. These digital literacy trainers will prepare for the kick-off of community Maker Parties in July 2014.

In May, IMLS announced an initiative with the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, the San Francisco Exploratorium, the North Carolina State University Libraries, and the Chicago Public Library to create a national Maker@Your Library and Museum program. They will draw on expertise of 50 museum professionals and librarians to create tools to help libraries and museums to launch effective makerspaces and programs. The result will be a freely accessible toolkit that will provide ideas, resources, and a framework that all museums and libraries throughout the U.S. can use to create effective collaborative makerspaces and programs.

In September, IMLS will announce $1 million in awards for STEM projects that use making. IMLS has long supported library and museum integration of community- and youth-engagement, hands-on activities, and, increasingly, digital technologies. Libraries and museums excel at creating out-of-school and lifelong learning opportunities, including learning environments that invite collaboration and discovery. These activities have the potential to grow a new generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, and manufacturers. All types of libraries and museums may apply for planning, research and project funds to support development of programs that support making in museums and libraries. 

Additional information about museums and libraries and makerspaces (PDF, 130KB) is available on the IMLS website.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.