The Maker Movement and Learning in School Libraries

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The Maker Movement and Learning in School Libraries
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Kimberly Hirsh
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Makerspaces and making activities are proliferating in school libraries. The practitioner literature is replete with books (Preddy, 2013b), blog posts (Hamilton, 2012a, 2012b), conference papers (Houston, 2013), and articles (Buerkett, 2014; Canino-Fluit, 2014; Craddock, 2015; Daley & Child, 2015; Graves, 2014; Houston, 2013; Kurti, Kurti, & Fleming, 2014a, 2014b; Loertscher, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2015; Moorefield-Lang, 2015a, 2015b; Preddy, 2013a; Range & Schmidt, 2014; Thompson, 2014) describing how school librarians can leverage the “Maker Movement” to increase engagement, enhance inquiry-driven learning, and build community in their school libraries. While this abundance of practitioner literature indicates that there is a bottom-up demand for information about how to make the most of school library makerspaces, there is also a top-down push for creating these spaces for learning. This emphasis is evident in President Obama’s Educate to Innovate program (“Educate to Innovate,” n.d.) and its collaboration with the Maker Education Initiative, the Institute of Museum and Library Services Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums program (Association of Science-Technology Centers & Urban Libraries Council, 2014), and the Young Adult Library Services Association’s creation of a Making in the Library Toolkit (Young Adult Library Services Association, 2014). In one survey of youth-oriented makerspaces, 39% of respondents indicated that their makerspaces were located in schools (Peppler, Maltese, Keune, Chang, & Regalla, 2015a). Litts (2015) points out that, while there is both popular demand and institutional support for makerspaces, “Researchers and practitioners are co-opting making as a learning activity without fully understanding the communities and cultures in which [it is] practiced” (p. 54). An emerging body of empirical literature has begun to address this disconnect; this literature review and the proposed study contribute to this body of literature by investigating whether school library makerspaces are rooted in the community and culture of the larger Maker Movement.