As the littleBits Global Chapters program grows and our School Chapters program launches, it’s important to highlight the unique spaces hosting events around the world. For this series, we’ve interview four Chapter leaders (from different types of spaces) and encouraged them to share their experience with us.
Please describe your library makerspace and what you do in there.
Our makerspace has been dubbed the Labrary because it was designed to be a mashup of a traditional school library and 21st century learning lab. We run classes during the day, offer micro-courses for some deep dive exposure to robotics, coding, and tinkering, and also offer monthly evening makerspace events for the community.
How many kids do you host in your space at a time?
That’s a great question! For a normal class, I may have up to 20 students at a time. Our micro-courses run several days each week and have about 15 students per session each day. The evening makerspace events often attract 40 or more attendees from the community.
How do you use littleBits in your space? Which set do you have?
littleBits are an essential component of our programs. They are used for everything from quick prototype scenarios to long-form explorations of product design, game construction, and “life hacking”. We are so fortunate to have a Pro Library and 2 Workshop Sets, as well as several Deluxe, Synth, and Home Kits.
How did you receive funding to start your Chapter?
Our first challenge was to articulate our vision for a new makerspace, create a written proposal, and present it to the administration for review. Once they saw the opportunity to develop this type of programming in the school, they were happy to provide initial funding to get the Labrary started. From there, we’ve been able to build out the program and the school community has been super generous in providing the funding we need for materials and supplies.
What kind of workshops do you run?
I’m always so excited to run the littleBits Chapter events because the Community team comes up with some amazing stuff! The Bit Wars event was a huge success for us! The kids and their parents were so psyched to invent, build, and play together that night! In addition, I’ve offered game construction, robotics, and build your own computer workshops. I’m really looking forward to the animatronics event coming up! 🙂
How do you distribute the bits?
This largely depends on the type of event or class we’re running, but I generally put together a collection of identical “base kits” for everyone to start with. From there, I have our other bits on the periphery, awaiting that “Ah-Ha!” moment when someone has an incredible idea and needs a different type of bit!
What’s been the most exciting part about running a Global Chapter in your library makerspace?
Without a doubt, the most exciting part of running the Chapter is witnessing the ingenuity and enthusiasm that emanates from the kids! I am constantly amazed at their ability to devise new systems, solve new problems, and create new possibilities when their given the opportunity to explore on their own terms. It is a powerful and humbling experience.