The makerspace movement encompasses a wide berth from the basic to the high tech, and the free to the highly expensive. Determining what the library can afford, what it wants to accomplish with its makerspace, how best to utilize its resources, and whether partners can be found to support these efforts is incredibly important.
The Westport Library in Westport, Connecticut, has contributed a great deal of resources towards several expensive high tech purchases. One such acquisition is the SolidWorks computer-aided design software. This was used to reach out to a niche community—primarily postgraduates trying to hone their skills—a purchase that benefits a fairly small audience. Funding such projects could be controversial in some communities since it is funneling general funds towards a service that requires a fair amount of expertise to use and hence is fairly limited in reach. The other way to view this is that the library is providing value to a group that might not otherwise look to the library for services. It can also be a way to create advocates in the community from different sectors, particularly in this instance where it was in response to a suggestion from a local biomedical engineer....more
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