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HI my name is Tara Radniecki and I’m going to talk about why I believe making and innovation belong in academic libraries.
I am currently the Engineering Librarian at DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library at the University of Nevada, Reno. The university has approximately 18,000 students and roughly 6,000 of those are in the DeLaMare engineering, physical, and computer science disciplines. We are the only small branch library of our campus’ main library, a big beautiful and new knowledge center located on the north end of campus. We have four librarians at DeLaMare Library and 2 full time staff member. With those numbers, you can imagine we rely heavily on our student workers to help with the day to day running of the library.
In a talk later today, I’ll go into more detail about what we’ve done to transform DeLaMare Library into a thriving combination of a makerspace and academic library. For right now, I’ll just quickly go over some of the non-traditional services and equipment we offer in our library so, you can get an idea of the making and innovation I’ll be speaking of in this talk.
Beyond equipment, we also host a variety of workshops and events that encourage innovation. This year we teamed up with our Engineering students to put on a very successful Arduino Day event. We hosted our annual Microoft hackathon and added the NASA Space Apps challenge to our event calendar as well. The Entrepreneurship club (made up heavily of business students) hosted their design workshops in our space because they said we were a place that valued student-led innovation. When students are saying things like that about your library, you know you’re on the right track.
But the question we get asked so often is, “Why should academic libraries be providing access to making and innovation tools and resources?” It’s often seen as a service for public libraries to provide. They have long been providing non-traditional spaces, tools, and resources for their communities – from cake pans to business meeting rooms. The first library to offer 3D printing to anyone and everyone was a public library.
Why in Academic Libraries? We may pride ourselves on being the heart and soul of a university, but this is the question that goes through my mind.
It is crucial that academic libraries constantly challenge their beliefs and practices and strive to remain relevant to a new breed of academics. And I believe that incorporating making and innovation into your library, will not only make it relevant, but indispensable.
And looking at nearly any academic library’s mission you’ll find statements like these:
Surely, these are the goals and missions which maker and innovation spaces can help libraries accomplish?
Academic libraries have actually long supported making and innovation. For centuries we focused on helping our scholars write, or rather, make research papers. We have also always provided informational resources for experiments so, I don’t believe it’s such a big step to provide physical resources for those as well. Poster printing is a common service in academic libraries as is a variety of “making software” – from AutoCAD to Final Cut Pro to ChemSketch to Photoshop. We also pride ourselves on being the place for knowledge, connections, and collaborations are made. We provide space, events, and resources to help make these happen.
In academic libraries, we focus heavily on creating information literate students. While this is a crucial literacy for academic and career success, we have also begun to realize that other literacies are necessary and equally deserving of our attention. Digital and media literacy has certain come to the attention to many librarians. But I argue we need to also include other literacies such as computational and tactile literacy if we truly want to produce students most ready to not just enter the workforce, but become a leader in it.
This is one of my favorite quotes from Mitch Resnick of the MIT Media Lab. His group developed the programmable brick technology that actually inspired the Lego Mindstorm robotic kits.
He says, “Read Quote”
Technology plays a vital role in not only consuming information but also producing it. We are doing a disservice to our students by not teaching them how to communicate with others and express themselves via something other than a Microsoft Word document.
This quote is from Catarina Mota, maker and co-founder of openmaterials.org, which is dedicated to DIY experimentation and smart materials.
Academic libraries exist to support the research and teaching missions of the university. And the university exists mainly to educate students who go out into the world and achieve massive success. (This, of course, is how a university’s reputation is built up.) Therefore, academic libraries should be striving to not only help our students achieve academic success, but to learn the skills necessary to make their future. To be leaders in the world and make our collective future.
Allowing them to learn and grow through making and innovation-related services will help them do this.
Because we can afford and need high end equipment for our Engineering students and faculty, we are in a unique position to offer tools and resources to the public that perhaps a public library would never be able to afford.
More businesses have come out of DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library than any other place in Northern Nevada.
Go out and make connections – Meg talked about drinking beers with the people – we, too, leave the library – startup events, local collective, campus events…
Making & Innovation in Academic Libraries
Why it needs to be happening in academic libraries
Bibliothekartag: Bremen, Germany
June 6, 2014
If individual departments begin managing
electronic journal subscriptions and the
student union provides comfy couches for
students to study in (and eat/drink/sleep) –
why on earth will any university continue to
spend millions on the library ?
Making + Innovation in Academic Libraries
The stuff resumes are built of…
Expert 3D modeling skills
Multiple students working on patent applications
Apps created in hackathons
Creative thinking skills
Tactile & computations knowledge
• Joint proposal with Psychology for handheld 3D scanners
• Joint proposal with 31 faculty across campus for makerspace
• Engineering dept giving us 3D printer & laser cutter – make
accessible to entire community
• Faculty members having office hours in DeLaMare Library
• Computer Science asking us to co-produce a teens Arduino
The Wisconsin Idea
The Wisconsin Idea is the principle that
the university should improve people’s
lives beyond the classroom.
It spans UW–Madison’s teaching,
research, outreach and public service.
• First academic library to offer 3D printing to anyone
and everyone, regardless of major or university status
– completely open to greater public.
• Workshops and tours are open to the public
• Attending local collectives, makerspaces, inventor
groups, high schools, networking communities to