Designing Academic Library Makerspaces: Bridging Technology and Community Engagement

MATHUEWS, Katy and HARPER, Daniel J. (2019) Designing Academic Library Makerspaces: Bridging Technology and Community Engagement. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2019 - Athens, Greece - Libraries: dialogue for change in Session 205 - Library Buildings and Equipment.

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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


Designing Academic Library Makerspaces: Bridging Technology and Community Engagement

Recognizing the need to connect disparate entrepreneurs and innovators for collaboration, Ohio University embarked on a mission to create a university-industry collective. The objective was to join siloed resources to bring expertise, technology, space, and equipment together to support entrepreneurship on campus and in the community, creating an ecosystem of innovation that spans the entire region. With a long-standing reputation as an inclusive and interdisciplinary space, the Ohio University Libraries proved to be the ideal hub to connect the network of resources. The university redesigned an underutilized library space intended for faculty use to host a central innovation hub. Dimly-lit, small offices and cramped common space were re-envisioned as a bright, collaborative space open to all. Dubbed CoLab, the center provides space for ideation, tinkering, and incubation. CoLab serves as a connecter by hosting community speakers and events and maintaining a directory of technology and equipment across campus and the community. Ultimately, the goal is to leverage ideas and resources in support of the business-generating and poverty-alleviating activity vital to the continued success of the University and southeast Ohio. This paper explores the hub and spoke model employed by Ohio University and Athens County as well as the spaces, equipment, and technology contained within the growing innovation ecosystem. The paper also highlights the programming and partnerships that have ignited the spark of community engagement on campus.

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