A 'Maakplaats' is a maker space at one of the Amsterdam public libraries (OBA), containing a similar set of machines as a Fablab. Not so visible for the public is the training programme for employees of the municipal public libraries we organise. We are training a whole new team of coaches that will run the maker spaces at the OBA libraries. I am happy to be part of that as Maker Educator at Waag Society.
The coaches will coordinate the local activities and therefore play a crucial role in the whole project. They are the spokespersons of the maker spaces. It is very important to make the operation of the spaces futureproof, as the libraries should be able to run and develop them independently after four years.
The full training programme of the coaches contains several steps. It all starts with inspiration and getting to to know the processes. We guide the participants step-by-step in the world of maker education and digital fabrication. In the end, the coaches can work with all the machines, develop their own ideas and will be able to help and guide the children that use the maker spaces. It is wonderful to see the library people grow in their role as coach.
Librarian Maker Camp
The first training that they will get, is a two-day Librarian Maker Camp. During four of these camps at the Waag, we now have trained 80 participants. This training is available to all library staff. They will get home with a bag printed with their own design from the vinyl cutter, filled with a personalised notebook, a self-designed and 3D printed key ring and a patiently soldered Fabschoolino. They also have a mind full of new impressions and inspiration! A good starting point for further education.
After this, those who are interested can take follow-up courses, get an internship at one of our FabSchool courses and join a monthy meeting called Maker Monday. A rich programme, that runs for some months now and already bears fruit. The coaches have made big steps, and can now work on their own. The aim is to train a complete network of people staffing the library maker spaces.
In this way, many more children will have access to maker education and have the chance to acquire the creative and technical skills for the future. The ultimate goal: Maker Access for All!