December 20, 2012


IMLS Press Contact
Giuliana Bullard,

IMLS Awards $249,999 to the Chicago Public Library Foundation to Create a Maker Space

Washington, DC
—The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced today a $249,999 grant to support the development of a Maker space within the Chicago Public Library.

Maker spaces 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. The Maker movement aligns with President Obama’s Educate to Innovate initiative, a nationwide effort to help reach the administration’s goal of moving American students from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade.

"We are excited about the Chicago Public Library’s Maker space project," IMLS Director Susan Hildreth, said. "They are leaders in creating opportunities for community-based learning."

The Chicago Public Library Foundation and the Chicago Public Library will partner with the Museum of Science and Industry and the STEM & Entrepreneurship Exchange to plan, design, and pilot a digital design and fabrication lab that will be available to the general public within the library’s main branch. The Chicago Maker space will enable mentor-led learning and will introduce adults, families, teens, and children to technology and equipment that is enabling new forms of personal manufacturing and business opportunities.

The project team also will explore and evaluate viable roles for public libraries as the providers of such spaces and services to communities. In addition to the services and equipment that will be made available locally, the project team will create a how-to guidebook for other public libraries that may wish to create their own similar labs.

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 17,500 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 or follow @US_IMLS on Twitter.

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