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If You Build It Will They Come?: Building a FabLab in the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries and Building Faculty Partnerships for Its Use

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Makerspaces in the Library: Using 3D printers, Laser Cutters, and Kits to Enhance Learning

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.882.1 - 26.882.11



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Paper Authors


Sylvia Jones Southern Methodist University

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Sylvia George-Williams is currently the Science and Engineering Librarian at Southern Methodist University. Until very recently, she was the Engineering Librarian at the University of Texas, where, in addition to her duties of instruction, reference/research consultations and some knowledge management, she was on a number of library initiatives task forces related to developing an educational program on Scholarly Communications for faculty, developing a FabLab, and developing a methodology for evaluating the resonance of UT Arlington faculty and graduate students publications. She also chaired the Research Services Advisory Group (RSAG) which provided advice and made recommendations on policies pertaining to research and reference services to the UT Arlington Libraries Leadership Group. She was also the Engineering Librarian at Clemson University before moving to UT Arlington.

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“If You Build It Will They Come?: Building a FabLab in the University of Texas @ Arlington Libraries and Building Faculty Partnerships for Its Use”AbstractWith the rapid rate at which technology is impacting the field of librarianship, it has becomecritical for libraries to become more innovative in all areas of their operations: from the wayphysical spaces are envisioned, to the services being offered, and even to our roles as librarians.At the University of Texas @ Arlington Libraries, shortly after a new Dean was hired about twoyears ago, there was talk of library-wide re-organization. Amidst all the discussions andactivities that went into the reorganization process, the UT Arlington libraries’ leadership made astrategic commitment that the libraries would provide transformational learning experiencesthrough Creation, eXploration, and Innovation (CXI – which became the libraries’ hedgehogconcept). As a result of this, the leadership team identified certain goals which were to be theframework through which the libraries were supposed to achieve the hedgehog -- one of whichwas the building of a FabLab in the library. The paper will address the following: why the librarychose to build a “FabLab” and not a “makerspace”, and some of the various activities that wereundertaken to make the beta version of the lab a reality. It will also highlight the efforts made toreach out to faculty, specifically faculty in the College of Engineering, to encourage them tointegrate various hands-on learning activities in their courses, and get them to use the FabLab asa space to apply and reinforce classroom learning. The paper will also discuss the long-termvision for the lab.

Jones, S. (2015, June), If You Build It Will They Come?: Building a FabLab in the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries and Building Faculty Partnerships for Its Use Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24219

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