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Lending a Hand: Supporting the Maker Movement in Academic Libraries

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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

26.1081.1 - 26.1081.11



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Paper Authors


Adam Rogers North Carolina State University Libraries

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Adam Rogers is an innovative and user-focused librarian who works at the intersection of public services and new technologies. In his role as Emerging Technology Services Librarian based at NCSU’s new James B. Hunt Jr. Library, he planned for, launched, and currently manages the Hunt Library Makerspace which makes 3D printing, 3D scanning, laser cutting, and electronics prototyping tools accessible to all at NC State. He is also leading the development of a second, larger Makerspace, set to open in D.H. Hill Library this spring.

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Ben Leduc-Mills SparkFun Electronics, Inc.

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Ben Leduc-Mills is a researcher in the education department at SparkFun Electronics where he investigates strategies to infuse learning spaces with more hands-on activities. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he worked in the Craft Technology Lab building toys aimed at getting children involved in designing objects for 3D printing. Prior to Colorado Ben spent time in New York City, working at Eyebeam, a premier art and technology center, and earning his Master’s degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), a hotbed of the DIY and maker movements. Ben has taught, presented, and published at numerous academic conferences, Maker Faires, hackerspaces, universities, and other informal learning spaces on building and teaching emerging technology to children and incorporating it into learning spaces of all shapes and sizes.

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Brendan C. O'Connell Smith College Libraries

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Brendan O'Connell is Instructional Technology Librarian at Smith College Libraries, Northampton, Massachusetts.

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Brian Huang Sparkfun Electronics

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Brian Huang is an Education Engineer for SparkFun Electronics, a cutting edge open-source hardware and electronics education company. Brian started his career in engineering with wireless transport technologies for ADC Telecommunications in Minneapolis, MN. While working at ADC, Brian volunteered at the Science Museum of Minnesota and quickly discovered a passion for teaching and working with students - especially in an environment that fostered and supported the “wow” factor associated with inquiry and discovery. In 2007, Brian left the world of engineering to pursue a career in education. For the past 5 years, Brian has taught various levels of high school physics, mathematics, applied technology, and robotics.

Brian joined Sparkfun Electronics to help integrate “tinkering,” electronics, and computational thinking into the classroom. One of his goals is to help teachers to de-mystify how household consumer electronics work. With a few simple tools, classrooms can excite and encourage students to explore the possibilities of microcontrollers, electronics, and physical computing.

Brian Huang has a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a Masters in Education from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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Arduinos, Makey­Makey, and the Maker Movement ­­ Strategies for Training,  Managing, and Organizing New Technologies in Libraries   Over the past year, SparkFun Electronics has partnered with the [University] Libraries to investigate the feasibility and logistics of libraries providing access to SparkFun Arduino Kits, Makey­Makey’s, and other technologies to their users as part of the growing movement of makerspaces in libraries.   The library system at [University] has piloted a number of programs to provide these technologies available for check­out. They have been tracking usage, attitudes, and user feedback to identify ways to improve and stream­line this system. Presently, there are 20 SparkFun Inventor’s Kits and 7 MaKey MaKey Educational kits available for check­out at the Alpha1 and Alpha2 on campus at [University].   In addition, the library has integrated a number of hands­on workshops, trainings, and hack­a­thons in their space. The successes of each of these events is tracked by number of visits and average time spent in the library spaces. This study has extended to include investigating activities around making in libraries, library makerspaces and the role of SparkFun materials in an undergraduate and graduate university curriculum. We will present the outcomes of these new initiatives at [University] including: the current Technology Lending program, maker events, workshops, and on­going collaborations with faculty.   Some of the faculty collaborations have included developing new assignments around Maker electronics, such as a video assignment with MaKey MaKey for a Communications & Technology course. The Libraries have integrated activities around using paper circuits, eTextiles, and eCrafting to provide a study break during the final exam weeks last year.   In addition, this past semester semester, [University] led two open “Introduction to Arduino & MaKey MaKey” workshops for our community that were very well­attended, as well as two specialized workshops on Arduino using the Inventor’s Kit for [XXCamp], a humanities and technology unconference at Hunt Library.   The launch of the D.H. Hill Library Makerspace is the second space at [University] for students to build, tinker, relax, and study. This new space, building on our popular makerspace opened in the Hunt Library in January 2013, is a centrally­located, open­access space for all [University] students, faculty, and staff to get hands­on experience with tools such as microcontrollers, other creative electronics, 3D printing, and laser cutting while collaborating across disciplines in a welcoming and fun environment. Our goal is to document best practices for library makerspaces. 

Rogers, A., & Leduc-Mills, B., & O'Connell, B. C., & Huang, B. (2015, June), Lending a Hand: Supporting the Maker Movement in Academic Libraries Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24418

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