5 Tips for Starting a Makerspace on a Budget by Diana Rendina
“… the idea that you need a lot of money to start a Makerspace is a myth”
When I talk to other librarians and educators about starting a school Makerspace, one of the most common things I hear is, “I’d love to do (insert cool Maker activity) at my school, but we don’t have a budget for that.” What many people don’t realize is the idea that you need a lot of money to start a Makerspace is a myth. All you need is a vision, ingenuity, and resourcefulness. A lack of funds is no longer an excuse for keeping your students from experiencing the empowerment of the Maker Education Movement into your program.
Hold a supply drive
Let your parents and community know what you’re looking for, and donations will often pour in. While you might not get a 3D printer, many families have craft supplies, LEGOs and other items sitting around their houses that they would love to give you. And like classroom supply lists, many parents are happy to purchase items to donate when they know what you need. We held a LEGO drive at my school and offered entries into an iTunes gift card giveaway to everyone who donated. Several Cultivate a Makerspace Vision teachers brought their college-aged children’s LEGOs, and many stuWhat would your dream library Mak- dents donated LEGOs they no longer erspace look like? Make a Pinterest used at home. board of activities you’d like to bring to your library. Gather a focus group Don’t discount the value of recycled of students and get their input to give materials either. One man’s trash can your students a voice in the creation become another student’s treasure. of your Makerspace. Maybe you During our Makerspace Cardboard dream of an arts and crafts cart that Challenge, we collected cardboard you can bring out for programs. Or boxes, paper tubes, bottle caps and your students want to have a LEGO other items that would be thrown wall to build on. Perhaps you want away or recycled, and we transyour kids to learn how to program a formed them into DIY games. robot that travels around your library. Develop your vision, and then Talk to local businesses and see if they’re willing to help out share it with everyone you meet. Teachers, parents and community A local stereo repair shop donated members love to hear about cool, several unclaimed items to our school innovative projects that the local when we created a tech take apart school is planning, and they will often station. Try talking to a local hardhelp you out once they know what ware store; they might be willing to you are trying to accomplish. give you paint to spruce up your
The Scanner issue 6.1 Tools of the Trade. Including quick ideas for classwork and MakerSpace funding suggestions.