The STEM Maker Library Grant

Our STEM Maker Library

Our STEM Maker Library

In all the craziness of last year, I forgot to blog about one of the grants we received.  Almost every year that I’ve been a media specialist, I’ve applied for a grant from the Hillsborough Education Foundation.  In previous years, I’ve applied for more graphic novels, books geared towards reluctant readers, and audiobooks.  This year, I wanted to create a grant that would help our library to support our growing Makerspace program.  I’d had many students come up to me asking for books about video game design, Arduino, 3D printing, etc.  Since I knew that the demand would only grow as students came to know more about Making, I knew that we needed to get some more resources available for students.  Yes, there are TONS of great resources online, but there’s still something about having a physical book in your hands.  And for some students, grabbing a book during their 5 minutes of library time might be the only way to expose them to current topics like this.  And it’s pretty cool to have a book on LEGOs or duct tape projects open as you’re actually working on them.

Students using the new LEGO books at our LEGO table

Students using the new LEGO books at our LEGO table

The grant was for a total of $1,000, and it was a matching grant, meaning that we had to match with $500.  I ended up using cash we raised during our spring bookfair.  It felt like a lot at first, but considering that it meant we were getting quality Makered books essentially at half price, it didn’t seem so bad.

I picked out several topics that I either knew the kids were already interested in, or that I predict they will become interested in as our Makerspace grows.  I tried to go with hardcovers as much as possible, but there were some paperbacks in there too.  Here’s a sampling of the topics and titles we chose:




Making origami with our new origami books

\Making origami with our new origami books

Because of timing with vendors, we weren’t able to get the books until the very end of the year.  I got a chance to introduce the books to one of our science classes, and the reaction was good.  Several students immediately took the LEGO books over to our LEGO table and started working on a castle.  My video game design nerds excitedly flipped through our books on video game art and game design as a career.  A couple of 8th graders took the origami books behind the check out desk and started folding some scrap paper.  These books are going to be a fabulous addition to our library as our Makerspace program grows.

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. Diana , I love this!!! Would you be willing to share the grant budget with me? Thanks for sharing this!!

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  3. […] we even had any Makerspace supplies at my school, I wrote a grant to create a STEM Maker Library, adding $1,000 worth of books to our collection about Arduino, 3D printing, origami, duct tape […]

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  7. Lisa Brennenstuhl : February 13, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Can you tell me where you got your portable red shelves? They are a great idea for this concept and I would love to get some.


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