Starting a Makerspace: Baby steps

Leave it out and let the magic happen

Leave it out and let the magic happen

Taking Baby Steps Towards Starting a Makerspace

As you know if you’ve been following my blog and Twitter account, I’m a bit obsessed lately with the concept of Makerspaces in libraries.  I’ve been brainstorming and grant writing. I’ve been telling everyone I know about my vision for what I want my school’s library Makerspace to become.  About a month ago, I mentioned some of my ideas to the lead teacher at my school.  She told me that the school had purchased $1,000 worth of K’nex several years ago for the science department, but hadn’t used them in years.  She offered them up to the media center, so I happily took them out of the storage room.  I cleaned off the dust, and started brainstorming how I would work them in.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  I was participating in a Twitter chat where the topic was Makerspaces in libraries.  I mentioned that I had been given all these bins of K’nex, but I wasn’t exactly sure where to start with them.  The advice that I got was exactly what I needed to hear:

Screen shot 2014-02-02 at 3.31.16 PM

Putting it out there

So last week, I did just that.  During lunch I have a lot of students come in with free time.  I put the boxes of K’nex out on the tables to see what would happen.  It was amazing!  The students were so excited and they spent the whole period building awesome creations.  Some of them I put on display in our glass trophy case outside the media center, the rest I posted to Instagram.

Next week I’m starting a bi-weekly K’nex club with a group of sixth graders, where we’ll build things and document them with our media center iPod Touches.  I’m so excited to have this aspect of our Makerspace started, and I can’t wait to see where we go with this!

Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog She was a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest from 2015-2018. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.


  1. […] big and I’m sharing this dream with everyone I meet.  I mentioned the other day about how sharing my dream helped us out – the media center now has six tubs of K’nex.  We’ve been able to start a K’nex […]

  2. […] materials yet to hold a full-on Maker’s Club (that will be next year). Since I had been given several tubs of K’nex to start out our Makerspace, I decided to make that our […]

  3. […] It was a small step but a step in the right direction. Diana Rendina’s blog post titled “Starting A Makerspace: Baby Steps” really inspires me. You can’t let yourself be intimidated by the thought of creating a […]

  4. […] might already have an iPad cart.  Your school might already have a robotics team or woodshop.  Your science department might have bins of K’nex that they bought years ago that are just sitt….  These need to be considered as you put together your Makerspace […]

  5. […] a lot of time reflecting on the library Makerspace we’ve been creating at my school.  We started out back in January with a couple of bins of K’nex that our science department no longer used.  We just left […]

  6. […] the very beginning of intentionally bringing Making into the library, the K’nex have been a key component.  My students LOVE to tinker with the K’nex, and […]

  7. […] Our Makerspace was born. […]

  8. […] year ago today, I took a leap that one change my life.  One year ago, I took three bins of K’nex out of our storage closet, dusted them off, and […]

  9. […] them to be notified of the next course offering, and it just started up on July 22.  Even though I started my school’s Makerspace back in January 2014, I often don’t end up having time to really tinker myself or explore new projects. […]

  10. […] I first started blogging about our makerspace in early 2014, I had no idea what it would become or where it would take me and my students.  I didn’t […]

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