Friday, July 3, 2015

Making Libraries

Last week I had the privilege of participating in an American Library Association Annual Conference session hosted by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)-funded grant team. Their session was titled, “Bubbler @ Madison Public Libraries: A system-wide approach to learning through making.” Set in a workshop format, the session included leaders, coordinators, and educators doing work in the field of makerspaces.  As one who normally works sitting at a desk, the workshop stretched me - literally.  

Bubbler logo

As a way of demonstrating learning through making, we worked as small groups designing our own games. One team created a social media tagging game that had us doing yoga poses. Others included human-scale "plinko" games. One other group leveraged web platforms for creating shared story telling. All were similar in demonstrating that informal methods of learning can be accomplished easily within the library setting.  

Workshop participant doing yoga pose
Workshop participant doing yoga pose
Our friends at Madison Public Library also shared their experience with their maker program called, "The Bubbler." Their progress is outstanding. The program continues to grow across their entire system with all branches now having some sort of "Bubbler" programming. The interesting aspect is that each branch has fulfilled their local needs by leveraging their neighborhood communities as they developed and implemented their programs. Our team at DPI plans to support these local efforts by helping to scale statewide the story-telling of successes, enabling new insights to be replicated and modified community by community.

Written by:
Kurt Kiefer, Division for Libraries and Technology
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction