Aaron Reuland, Library Teacher
C.M. Callahan Elementary School, Norwood
Two years ago, I decided to transform my library into a makerspace. It was the best professional choice that I’ve ever made. Students still check out books and learn digital citizenship but now we also build, tinker, play and code. We make a lot of messes! We (me included) make mistakes and we (hopefully) learn from them. I’ve received and purchased materials from grants and also scrounged cardboard and unused supplies from every closet and attic at school and at home. I've spent summers building wind tubes and soldering circuits. It’s been hard, fun, work.
MSLA Spotlight School Library
Maybe it’s not for every librarian. Certainly, not every library needs to do it the same way. However, school librarians often have the most ‘wiggle room’ in their curriculum and space and it's a great way to experiment. Libraries have traditionally been places for self-directed learning where people can read and find out about what excites them. This fits perfectly with the maker mentality. If every library could find the space for open-ended, hands-on, learning, the world would be richer for it. I’m very proud of our Makerspace.
I’m most proud of our project CalBOT. CalBOT is cardboard robot that sits near the entrance to the library. It has several pictures on it in foil. When you touch the birthday cake it sings happy birthday. Students use it on their birthdays. When you touch the smiley face it tells one of ten random jokes. When you touch the sad face, it gives you one of thirty three random encouragements. Its antennae sing when they're touched. It runs on a Makey-Makey that is plugged into a computer behind it. Inside it is a speaker that we found in the school attic. The students helped design it, build it, and code it in Scratch. They wrote and recorded the jokes and encouragements. It was a school-wide collaboration where I played project manager. We spent the last couple of months during library class(es) working on it. The students use it every day. Happy making! Happy reading!