They asked us to partner with them on a research and strategy project to:
LibraryLinkNJ is a very talented team with a network of innovative librarians and library staff representing public, school, academic & special libraries. We had to focus on their needs as well as those of the makerspace community to know how best to structure and facilitate the workshop to achieve actionable takeaways.
To understand how these makerspaces were being implemented, we conducted phone interviews with those who had been integral in running different types of makerspaces among LibraryLinkNJ’s member libraries.
We facilitated a four-hour workshop with 60 librarians from across the state who were maintaining makerspaces. Each workshop exercise was directly informed by our research findings and was crafted to help the LibraryLinkNJ makerspace community leverage each others’ ideas and strategize ways to overcome obstacles.
"Dear Geoff and Colleagues, all of us at LLNJ are thrilled with how yesterday's program went." — Joanne P. Roukens, Assistant Director, LibraryLinkNJ
Our work with LibraryLinkNJ resulted in the following:
Problem and solution identification
In the interviews, we pinpointed challenges the makerspaces were facing and explored them further within the workshop. The exercises we facilitated surfaced new ideas and fresh perspectives for how to address these pain-points.
A more tight-knit librarian makerspace network
We structured the workshop so that there was a balance of individual reflection and networking. By the end of the day, all participants had mingled or collaborated with one another, giving them new contacts to reach out to.
Compiled research findings
We documented the key conversation topics and ideas that resulted from each activity in the workshop, as well as all the interview findings, so that LibraryLinkNJ could refer to these outcomes as they develop future plans.
Recommended next steps
We took a comprehensive look at the research findings and workshop outcomes to suggest ways for New Jersey libraries to more effectively run and implement makerspaces.