Over the past few years, we’ve been developing and expanding our reach into the world of making, by offering both programs and resources.
What exactly is making? Well, we actually helped craft a formal definition for it for library staff across the nation. But the short answer is pretty simple: it is the process of being willing to get your hands dirty and learn while you create whatever you want to make to accomplish a task or just have fun. Do you cook? Do you craft? Do you invent? Do you build? Do you fix things? You are a maker!
In fact, some are even talking about making as at the core of a new type of literacy: invention literacy (i,e, the ability to look around you and figure out how human-made things work). Like any type of literacy, you can never be too old or too young to start your making journey and nurturing the growth mindset on which all making depends. You also can never have enough tools in the forms of books to get your creative juices flowing.
So this year we plan to highlight all of the various making resources we have–which range from needlework to Legos to more. We’ll kick off this series with the big picture—a look at some of the resources we have on making in general.
If you’re curious to learn more about making:
Karen Wilkinson’s and Mike Petrich’s The Art of Tinkering: Meet 150+ Makers Working at the Intersection of Art, Science & Technology (2013)
Rather than providing how-to information for projects, this book profiles various makers. In the process, it highlights how many different fields making can encompass. In addition to information on the people featured and their projects, the book also includes details on their workspaces and tools.
Alec Foege’s The Tinkerers: The Amateurs, DIYers, and Inventors Who Make America Great (2013)
This book approaches making from a historical standpoint. As the author notes, a tinkerer used to be a job–a repairer of utensils. Now, though, it means anyone who fixes or improves things, and by that definition, Americans as wide-ranging as Ben Franklin and Steve Jobs were all tinkerers. Tinkering is an important part of our heritage, and one that is still alive and well, per the profiles of contemporary tinkerers.
If you want to learn more about why making is important:
Dale Dougherty with Ariane Conrad’s Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing Our Schools, Our Jobs, and Our Minds (2016)
Making is a lot of fun, but what benefits does it provide beyond being a blast? Dale Dougherty, one of the founders of the maker movement, answers that very question in this book. As Dougherty explains, the fact it is fun is precisely what makes it such a beneficial educational tool that can help participants with personal growth, as well as workplace development and educational attainment.
If you prefer a more hands-on approach to learning about making:
Chris Hackett’s The Big Book of Maker Skills: Tools & Techniques for Building Great Tech Projects (2014)
Really, as befits a movement that embraces hands-on activities, there’s no better way to learn about making than to, well, start making. This book is a great overview of traditional making activities that people may not associate with making–woodworking and metalworking–as well as more modern manifestations, like 3D printing. In between, it covers everything from robots to drones to hand tools and power tools.
Zoe Bateman & Dr Alison Buxton’s Maker Studio: Fun Science & Tech Projects for Young Designers! (2020)
Geared specifically for young makers, this kid-friendly book features clear instructions, as well as explanatory information about the science behind each project. The activities encompass science, technology, and design. Kids will learn everything from how to make a Pringles can to how to grow their own crystal flowers.
Simon Monk’s The Maker’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse: Defend Your Base with Simple Circuits, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi (2016)
We have some really creative Maker resources in the system, but this one probably takes the cake. In the event of zombie invasion, learn how to do everything from detect zombies to generate solar power to make your own communication devices. It’ll let you be Macgyver meets The Walking Dead.
Beyond these great books, we also have a Make: Magazine subscription, which is a great way to stay up with all the latest news and innovations in the making community.
Are you a maker? What’s your favorite hands-on making activity? What’s your favorite making resource? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information on any of these items or to place them on hold.