Emerging Technology Planning

K-12 Makerspace at Milpitas Public Library to create products for developing countries

Goals/ Objectives for Technology/ Service

A blogger in the article “What is a Makerspace?” states a makerspace is:

A space with materials for students to let their curiosity and imagination come to life. An informal, playful, atmosphere for learning to unfold. A space where making, rather than consuming is the focus. A space where trans-disciplinary learning, inquiry, risk-taking, thinking, crafting, tinkering, and wondering can blossom. (What is a Makerspace?, n.d., p.9)

The goal of a makerspace is fostering creativity and learning for students, where they can participate and try new ideas, problem solve, produce new objects, and have fun in the process.  Makerspaces allow students to build, be adventurous, to make mistakes, and correct the errors.  An objective is to learn to work together, collaborate, brainstorm, and bounce ideas, in a group. Another objective is to contribute to student learning in the STEM fields.  The purpose of this particular makerspace is to create products for developing countries.  This will instill and inculcate a mindset of giving and caring for others with a world or global view and perspective.  So often, children and teens, can only think of their own niche in society, without a thought for others.  This K-12 makerspace will give them an opportunity to think of the welfare of others.  Students will learn about the needs of people in developing countries, and they will think of ways to create products to benefit those in developing countries.

         Some products the students will create include portable toilets, lamps, light bulbs, flashlights, stoves, microwaves, water purifiers, faucets, that can be used in the environment of households in developing countries.

Description of Community to be engaged

The community to be engaged are K-12 students in the Milpitas area who have time available in the afternoons, early evenings, and weekends to build and create.  These K-12 students do not need to have experiences with building, as they will learn hands-on, and their peers and three selected library staff will teach them how to use tools and equipment. These students should have a curiosity and motivation to participate in projects that may be long-term.

Action Brief Statement

Convince K-12 students at Milpitas Public Library that by participating in a makerspace for developing countries they will learn to make things to help others which will positively affect them for the long term because thinking of helping others is an important character trait to possess as information professionals.

Evidence and Resources to Support Technology/ Service

Evidence and Resources to Support Technology/ Service

Hamilton, B. J. (2012). Makerspaces, participatory learning, and libraries- the unquiet librarian.

In San Francisco, teens design a living room for high-tech learning at the public library. (2015). YOUmedia.

Milpitas library. (n.d.). Santa Clara County Library District. https://sccld.org/locations/MI/

Mission and values. (n.d.). Santa Clara County Library District. https://sccld.org/mission-and-values/

Roe, M. (2019). LA public library’s new makerspace/ studio lets you 3D print, shoot on a green screen, and way more.

What is a Makerspace? (n.d.). Makerspaces.com. https://www.makerspaces.com/what-is-a-makerspace/

Mission, Guidelines, Policy related to Technology/ Service

The mission statement of Milpitas Public Library (which is part of the Santa Clara County Library District) is supportive of a K-12 makerspace for developing countries, as the statement affirms: 

open forum promoting knowledge, ideas, and cultural enrichment. The library provides free access to informational, educational, and recreational materials and services. In response to community needs, the library provides diverse resources on a wide variety of subjects and viewpoints and helps people use these resources.  (Mission and Values, n.d., para. 1)

The guidelines for the K-12 makerspace for developing countries will follow basic instructions on what makerspaces should include: construction materials (wire, tape, cardboard), electronics (LEDs, buttons, switches); soldering irons; hot glue guns; sewing machine; and a hot iron.  Some advanced machines include 3D printer and laser cutter (A guide to makerspace equipment, n.d.).

The Milpitas Public Library branch manager as well as library administration will decide on policies such as hours of operation, staff supervision, safety, and funds.  During the school year, the K-12 makerspace will be open from 3pm-9pm on weekdays and 10am-6pm on weekends.  During the summer, the K-12 makerspace will be open the same hours as the rest of the Milpitas Public Library.  There will be a trained makerspace library staff person who will be present at the library, although the staff may not be in the makerspace room, for assistance or questions. There are safety policies because of the electronics, tools, and chemicals.  There may be dangerous equipment which must be stored properly.  The rooms must be ventilated.  Students may need protective eye wear and gowns.  Makerspace participants must help with cleaning, and the janitorial staff must be notified on how to clean the room (Martinez & Stager, 2019). 

Funding Considerations for This Technology/ Service

The purchase of equipment such as machines will be financed through a large grant from a Milpitas community member.  The community member asked that the K-12 makerspace to create products for developing countries be named after her: Carol Hamilton.  More funding will come from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) which is allocated to each state in the U.S.  LSTA is an investment into STEM education.  The room needed for this makerspace should be spacious in order for maximum usability. There must be room to spread out and room for equipment.  A crowded room will make the experience of working less positive ((Martinez & Stager, 2019, p.208).  Milpitas Public Library has a large assembly room which could be used for a makerspace. 

Action Steps & Timeline

  1. Get approval from Milpitas library board members (2 weeks)
  2. Get all the staff on the same page and excited about this technology and service (2 months)
  3. Get input from what students want in a makerspace (3 months)
  4. Start designing the space with furniture, interior design, placement of equipment (4 months)
  5. Have the students try out the new makerspace for additional ideas and changes (1 month)
  6. Let K-12 schools know about the new makerspace to incorporate in their curriculum (2 months).  (Ten Tips for Starting a Makerspace, n.d.)

Staffing Considerations for this Technology/ Service

The Milpitas Library Branch Manager must oversee putting together a makerspace room.  The Branch Manager will have assistance from the library board members and senior librarians.  Among the library staff, there will be selected three who have experience with machines and equipment.  The three staff will devote five hours each week to be available in the makerspace. These hours in the makerspace would come from working in the main sorting room where books are checked in and organized to be shelved.  Library pages can divide and cover the hours lost in the main sorting room.  If staff can think of people in the community who would volunteer to spend 5 hours each week in the makerspace, these people will be asked to help.  One of the three staff will be present at the library for the K-12 students who have may have questions.

Training for this Technology/ Service

The three library staff that oversee the makerspace will visit another local library makerspace to learn and get ideas for the Milpitas K-12 makerspace for developing countries. There are training sessions at these local library makerspaces that the staff participate in.  Also, the three library staff will enroll in free online training courses by the Raspberry Pi Foundation(Training Staff and Volunteers, n.d.).  The three library staff will also take a FabLearn class called Strategic Planning, Design and Implementation of Educational Makerspace Programs.  This 5-day class provides comprehensive training, using the FabLearn approach to K-12 STEAM project-based education. During the 5-day program, participants will be guided in developing their own unique maker education deployment, training, curriculum and assessment plans tailored to organization needs.  The FabLearn class is for people who are charged with planning and implementation of maker education programs within their organizations (Training, n.d.). 

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology/ Service

The open hours for K-12 Makerspace for developing countries will be listed in the Events page on the Milpitas Library Website.  During the first few weeks of the launch of the makerspace, there will be a press release sent to local newspapers, and a Public Service Announcement about the makerspace will be advertised on local television and radio stations who allow the library free airtime.  After the nascent days of the makerspace, there will be continued marketing through flyers placed in schools in Milpitas.  Milpitas Public Library will partner with K-12 schools for the placement of flyers.  And the school can place an article about the Milpitas Public Library makerspace in the school newsletter.  The makerspace will be promoted on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  Milpitas Public Library will post the makerspace hours on monthly events calendars.  Library staff will spread the news about the makerspace by word of mouth.  Milpitas Public Library will invite other libraries in the Santa Clara County Library District to participate in the makerspace and invite other library systems, like San Jose Public Library to participate.


There are ways to evaluate this new technology. One can ask students to keep a portfolio of projects that includes:

  • Which tools/ equipment they used
  • Which materials they used
  • Their project objectives
  • Who helped in the project
  • What they learned. (Measuring the Impact of Your Makerspace, n.d., para. 2)

Gathering this information will help determine which areas of the makerspace to invest in, and one can compare the makerspace with other makerspaces in other library systems.

Attendance is a metric of evaluation for the makerspace.  One could use:

  • RFID entry student cards for entering and leaving the room
  • Inputting registration information on computers by the doorway of the room
  • Sensors at machines that tabulate how many times the machine is used. (Measuring the Impact of Your Makerspace, n.d.)

Another important point of evaluation is measuring what students are learning.  What knowledge are they acquiring that they are not learning in a traditional classroom?  How is this knowledge helping the students? 

If the makerspace is successful, the technology can be expanded.  There could be more hours that the room is open, and people who speak on makerspaces can be asked to teach about makerspace projects and makerspace machines.  Completed projects can be showcased for other library patrons to view which may be a way to invite and draw in more people to use the makerspace.  Projects can be entered into competitions to receive recognition and awards.


A guide to makerspace equipment. (n.d.). Build a Makerspace for Young People. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/build-a-makerspace/14/steps/1198988

Library Funding. (n.d.). American Library Association. https://www.ala.org/advocacy/library-funding

Martinez, S. L., & Stager, G. (2019). Invent to Learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom (2nd ed.). Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

Measuring the impact of your makerspace. (n.d.). Build a Makerspace For Young People. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/build-a-makerspace/14/steps/1198991

Ten tips for starting a Makerspace. (n.d.). Build a Makerspace for Young People. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/build-a-makerspace/14/todo/116028

Training. (n.d.). FabLearn. https://fablearn.org/training/

Training staff and volunteers. (n.d.). Build a Makerspace for Young People. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/build-a-makerspace/14/steps/1198984

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