This week’s selection is “The Kickstart Guide To Making Great Makerspaces” by Laura Fleming.
Makerspaces are a place where you can very often find several 3D printers, as well as other making equipment. But they’re not really about 3D printing. No, instead they are about the grand concept of “making” in general, hence the name.
Having built my own makerspace, I’m aware of the many challenges facing a prospective makerspace founder. While at first it may seem to be “all about the equipment”, there’s really much more than that.
Makerspaces require management, of course, including financial, personnel, and legal. But that’s a sideshow compared to the fundamental goals of a makerspace, which is to engage individuals in ways that encourage them to progress forward in making. An ultimate goal might be to help create a hugely successful commercial product, but smaller successes are more typical.
This book gets to the meat of the makerspace sandwich by focusing on what author Fleming describes as the “Seven Attributes of a Great Makerspace”:
You can guess what these mean, but it’s much harder to put them into practice. How do you create a place where people are “empowered”? What steps should be taken to be “inspiring”?
Fleming takes the reader through the steps necessary to create a makerspace by exploring these aspects with respect to the goals of the project. Not all makerspaces are the same: some are for hobbyists, while others might be embedded within a large company to stoke innovation.
As Fleming says:
“No Cookie-Cutter Makerspaces Allowed!”
Fleming then explains how to take the planning findings into action by designing a makerspace from ground up, and setting the stage for ongoing measurements to keep things progressing in the intended direction.
Building a makerspace is far more than stowing a bunch of shared equipment in a room; it requires precision planning, delicate social engineering and a lot of effort. But if successful, the rewards can be astonishing.
If you’re considering setting up a makerspace, either standalone or within a business, this book might be a great place to start your project.
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