MakerSpace: Getting Started

South Johnston High School Media Center Maker Corner

What is a MakerSpace?

By now, most of you have heard the term "Makerspace." A Makerspace (sometimes referred to as a Fab Lab, Hackerspace, Tinker Lab, etc) is a designated area for a community to create, craft, build, explore, experiment, invent, tinker, innovate, share, collaborate, problem solve, learn, think, communicate, and more, using a variety of tools, electronics, gadgets, supplies, and other items.
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The Gears Began Turning...

For those of you educators whose schools have the extended times in the middle of the day, known as POWER at SJHS, you know how important it is to keep students busy with productive tasks if they are not attending a tutorial or club meeting.

A few years ago, a group of girls would meet up in the media center during POWER and look at Pinterest projects together. On most Mondays they would meet up and talk about which Pinterest project they tried and how it turned out, often sharing videos or pictures of the finished product. I enjoyed listening to their stories and began asking questions and talking to the students about their projects. Soon after, we became the DIY Club.

The DIY Club participants took turns picking projects from Pinterest and they would bring in the necessary supplies for the chosen projects. There was lots of thinking, planning, creating, collaborating and communicating. Students worked with the Art Teacher, the Science Teacher, and others in order to get projects done. Some projects turned out great and some were "Pinterest Fails," BUT the students always learned something and weren't afraid to try new things. They proved to be very persistent risk-takers who problem-solved though failed projects and came out with new skills after completing each new project.

This made my gears turn... What if we had a dedicated area in the library for such projects. I could tie collections of books into each project. Careers, crafts, art, inventions, fiction....

Inspiration to Get Started

Laura Flemming, Media Coordinator at New Milford High School in New Jersey really opened my eyes to the possibility of bringing a makerspace to SJHS. The following video shows how the students utilize the media center as a makerspace. I follow her on Twitter for great updates and information. She also has a website, Worlds of Learning:
New Jersey High School Getting Creative With Makerspace

Getting Started at SJHS

After reading many articles online, participating in webinars (edWeb), watching short videos, I decided that a Makerspace would be a great addition to the media center.

I found this article from the International Society for Technology in Education helpful. "Create a School Makerspace in Three Simple Steps":

Items Purchased

Dr. Pearce, SJHS Principal, was very eager to hear my ideas and reasoning for wanting to incorporate a makerspace in our school library (if you want to approach your principal or PTA/PTO you may want to get together a proposal with some of your ideas and needs with some data if possible). He kindly allotted $4,000 for this project. With this money, I purchased the following based on what I had seen and read from other librarians trying out Makerspaces (ideally, I would have preferred to get input from students, but I had to move quickly):

3D Printer (Makerbot Replicator Mini) & Suppies

Makey Makey set

littleBits Deluxe Set & Book


Sunprint kit (for crafts)

Arduino Sets & Robot kit & Book

Computer Build Book

Make Magazine Subscription

The printer was purchased at MakerBot and the other items were purchased at MakerShed.

Some items that I have included from home are:

Crafts items

paper towel rolls

art supplies


Snap Circuit Set


Items that we had on hand in the media center that have been useful:

Old desktop computer for computer take apart station

Hot glue gun for crafts

Getting Set Up

There is not much space in the SJHS Media Center. I shifted some of the book collection around and created a small area of four tables for our Makerspace. Maybe next year I will find a dedicated spot I can secure items in when not in use, or create a mobile makerspace depending on help with supervision.

How the Makerspace Operates

Each day I set up a sign up sheet and write in the days activities. I will do two activities per day, in addition to the computer take apart station and 3D printer. This has worked very well so far. I am thinking about creating a Google Form for kids to sign up in for the month if it gets any more busy.

Makerspace Resources to Help You Get Started

Here are some links that you may like to refer to as you get started:

The Makerspace Playbook School Edition-

Several Resources for Getting Started With Makerspaces. A must have!

Creating Communities Through Makerspaces -

Makerspace Lab -

Lewis and Clark Elementary's Makerspace Info -

Maker Community -

Make anything with Instructables -

There are so many resources out there! Pinterest is one of my favorite places to search.

Contact Me

Stephanie Haumont

South Johnston High School

Media Coordinator, Tech Contact

EXT. 5523