As my last project before leaving the library, I planned and created a MakerCart – a rolling creativity hub and place where students can try new technologies, play with robots, and unleash their creative side. This idea was inspired entirely by a genius peer at a nearby library whom I met a the Maryland Library Association earlier this year. (Thanks, Kt!)
This was something I wanted to do for a while and I’m glad it got done just before I left. Some of the bigger ticket items on the cart include an Ozobot robot and a Raspberry Pi starter kit. I also included some less techy things like origami paper and a crocheting kit. The cart itself is just one we already had collecting cobwebs in a back corner that I spruced up with some whiteboard paint.
Here’s the final product (photos taken by my lovely now former co-worker Joe because I forgot to do so before I left):
I collaborated with my co-workers to come up with a basic framework for using the cart. Before leaving I put together a list of 7-10 projects people could do using items from the cart (culled mainly from makezine.com, among other places). I suggested that staff roll it out whenever they have an hour or so that they can sit with it and get kids who are in the library to use it. I also suggested that they roll it out during the library’s dedicated Teen Zone time after school, when most kids are just there hanging out and being idle. Ideally, they would soon learn to start asking for the cart to be rolled out.
One of the plans I am most excited about for the cart and which I hope pans out is a collaboration with the nearby high school’s STEM and robotics club. It is our hope that the kids from these clubs will come by to man the cart, help us think of projects to promote with our materials, and generally mentor younger kids who may have an interest in STEM and creating.
I can’t wait to find out from my former co-workers what success they have once they get this officially up and running in the fall!