ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan School of Information has been awarded three-year funding for the Making in Michigan Libraries project to help nine Michigan libraries develop Maker workshops next summer. The deadline to apply is Nov. 15.

UMSI staff will hit the road in the summer of 2016 and 2017 to lead multi-day professional workshops around the state to bring together librarians, educators, civic leaders, daycare providers, employees at cultural institutions, makers, artists, and more to explore how maker culture – the culture of hands-on tinkering, crafting, engineering, and more – can support each community’s personal and economic needs.

During summer 2016, UMSI will host a three-day workshops on maker culture and the maker movement:

Days 1 and 2: Overview of the maker movement and maker culture, including ideas for implementation

Day 3: Making in schools

A community maker event on Day 1 or 2 (approx. 3 hours; weekday evening or weekend daytime)

UMSI is looking for eight libraries – academic, public, school, or special – to act as partner hosts.

“Whether your library is run by volunteers or dozens of full-time employees, in a city or small town, we want to reach Michigan makers wherever they live,” UMSI said in a press release. “We believe in the power of making both for personal fulfillment and for the potential to jumpstart new businesses.”

What’s In It For The Host Libraries?

They get multi-day professional learning at no cost, with no travel, scheduled over three summer days that are convenient for each library.

Each library gets to show off its town to those from neighboring communities and counties.

Each library acts as a local community builder.

Each organization receives a $500 stipend for each year of participation that it can use to jumpstart its own collection of maker tools and supplies.

What’s In It For UMSI?

Each library provides a climate-controlled space that accommodates about 75 people comfortably, has projection equipment and microphones (if amplification is needed), and has lots of tables and work space for participants to make stuff together, including an evening make event open to the community. This does not need to be in the library, if space is limited there. Each library can partner with local schools, fraternal organizations, community centers, or other organization that have space.

Each space will provide coffee and water service and a list of lunch spots for attendees.

Each library will help UMSI by reaching out to its local networks of librarians, educators, civic leaders, daycare providers, employees at cultural institutions, businesses, and more who have a piece in the larger conversation about making in your community.

How Will UMSI Choose Sites?

The Library of Michigan will help us evaluate the applications. We’re looking for:

Sites that are geographically dispersed across Michigan so that nobody has to drive more than an hour or two to reach a workshop;

Sites that articulate how they can help us recruit folks from neighboring communities, as well as local constituents;

Sites that can demonstrate why they want to be part of a movement to bring more creative tinkering, open-ended activities, tinkering, and making, as well as past efforts

Some preference may be shown to rural libraries, those in underserved communities, and those with higher levels of unemployment.


Eligible Counties: All Michigan counties are eligible except those in Southeastern Michigan, which we’ll serve via workshops held on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. Ineligible counties include Ingham, Livingston, Oakland, Macomb, Jackson, Washtenaw, Wayne, Hillsdale, Lenawee, and Monroe. (View on a map here.)

Questions? Email Kristin Fontichiaro at [email protected] or call (734) 647-3593.

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