How to Build An Awesome Makerspace Resource Library

How to Build an Awesome Makerspace Resource Library : Having books on topics related to makerspaces is essential for supporting the independent learning of your makers. In this post, I offer up 20 specific recommendations for books to add to makerspace resource libraries.

The Makerspace Resource Library

I’ve been a Maker in one form or another for a long time, way before that word was even common.  I learned how to sew from my mom in high school.  In college, I learned how to knit and crochet from my best friend.  I frequently dabbled in other crafty enterprises as well.  While I would tend to learn the initial skill in person, my favorite place for improving my skills was the public library.  I think there was a period where I had checked out just about every book under 746.63 (knitting) and 646 (sewing).

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Supporting our Makers through the collection

Fast forward to today.  There’s a ton of amazing posts out there on all the gadgets, gizmos and supplies to stock for your students in a Makerspace. But there isn’t a lot of advice on books to get to support the skills your students are learning.  Once kids get started with robotics/knitting/coding/soft circuitry/insert-Maker-skill here, they’re going to want to learn more about it.  And while there’s certainly tons of Maker tutorials out there on the internet, shouldn’t our libraries be supporting these new skills with books as well?

Before we even had any Makerspace supplies at Stewart, 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 crafts, LEGOs, etc.  The books in this makerspace resource library check out like crazy, and they’ve been an important part of the Makerspace program.

Basic steps for building your makerspace resouce library

  • Get at least one or two books geared towards maker educators to help expand your own knowledge
  • If you’re elementary, make sure to start building up a collection of makerspace picture books for your little ones and for story time
  • Add a variety of project books that can help students to build up their maker skillsets (great for programs too)
  • Find a few books that can offer visual inspriation for your students and place them around your space (think coffee table books on art and design)
  • Make a list of all the tools and materials you have available in your makerspace – get at least one or two books on each of these tools
  • If there’s a certain tool or technology that your students are interested in but isn’t in your makerspace (i.e. 3D printer, robots, etc) get a few books on that too.

20 Makerspace Book Recommendations

I’ve gathered together some of my favorite book recommendations for makerspace libraries into this post.  And please note that, while I am a librarian, you can totally get these books for your classroom makerspace, fab lab, or anywhere else your students are making.  Books for makerspaces fall into many categories, so I’ll break down some of my recommendations here.  Think about balancing your collection between the different categories.  Also consider things like art and architecture books for visual inspiration.  And make sure you have plenty of how-to books for specific tools in your makerspace (ie. 3D printing, Arduino, etc).  If you want to see ALL my recommendations, check out my Pinterest board (more on that at the bottom of this post)

Books for Maker Educators

These are books that are geared more towards the teachers, though some students might find them interesting as well.  They are essential for your professional development library and will help you to build and grow your makerspace program.  (And yes, I put my book in there, but I think it’s pretty awesome).

Picture Books for Young Makers

There are SO many fabulous picture books for young makers out there, I can’t possibly feature them all.  These books are excellent for elementary and are a great way to incorporate making into story time.  But even if you’re secondary, I think your students will still love them.  Here’s a few of my favorites:

Project Books

Your makerspace resource library should definitely include some project books.  Books with project ideas are a great way to help kids get their creative juices flowing and build their skill sets.  They might start by following the directions, but they’ll quickly begin branching off with their own ideas.  Project books are also great resources for hosting maker lunches and maker clubs.

Visual Inspiration

Some books might not necessarily explain how to do something, but instead will offer up beautiful visual inspiration.  There are tons of amazing books of art, design, and architecture out there.  Leave some of these laying around on your makerspace tables for students to discover.  Here are a few of my favorites for makerspaces:

Tool Specific Maker Books

You absolutely want to have books that are specific to the tools and materials in your makerspace resource library.  Whether you have cardboard and duct tape or 3D printers and Arduinos, there are tool/material specific books out there for you.  And even if it’s a tool you don’t have yet, you may still have students who are interested in learning more about it.

Makerspace Pinterest Board – Books to Get

I’ve only included a handful of the books I recommend for each category in this post.  But more and more awesome books are coming out everyday.  I wanted a way to continue to share more ideas for great books we should be providing to our kids.  Enter my Makerspace Books Pinterest board:

makerspace pinterest board

I wanted a visual way to continually add more books to recommend for supporting Makerspaces and building up a makerspace resource library.  Some of these books are geared towards educators who are wanting to know more about the Maker Movement.  Others are geared towards students with project ideas.  Some are geared towards cool science projects kids can do with their families.  And I think that they can all have a place in our library.  I haven’t read every single one of these books, and I don’t have all of them in my collection (yet).  So obviously, do your usual vetting before going out and purchasing the entire board.

What are some of your favorite books in your makerspace resource library?  Tell me in the comments!

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