LITT: Makers

The Makers LITT is a place for library staff supporting maker programming in Idaho to to connect and share via a quarterly online chat and ongoing Listserv.

The LITT: Makers listserv is a great way to stay connected between chats. Check out our listserv guidelines before posting.

You can find inspiration and resources from past trainings on the Make It at the Library page.

Subscribe to the LITT: Makers listserv:

Check the calendar to the right for when the next Makers LITT Chat will be happening.

Notes from Past LITT: Makers Chats

Links Shared:

3D printers Libraries Have in Idaho:

  • Ultimaker 2+
  • Ultimaker 2 Go
  • Creativebug Sculpt pro 2
  • MakerBot Replicator+
  • Anycubic Max 3D printer
  • Lulzbot Mini and a Lulzbot Taz6
  • maker replicator+
  • Prusa MK3
  • Qidi x-Pro
  • Resin printers
  • Flash Forge Finder
  • monitor and control 3D printer remotely

Funding for maker programming:

  • Local Women’s Century Club
  • General library funds
  • ICfL Make It program
  • Idaho Power
  • Idaho STEM Action Center

Programming in a Pandemic:

  • 3D printing appointments before > submit your files – still able to do some education on the fly
  • Informal teaching, but printer is out in public > keep it busy running
  • Timelapse of a print
  • Trying to schedule f2f appointments
  • Origami at the university to disconnect from computers
  • One library calls their Make it at the library programming “Full STEAM ahead”
  • Been in a slump, not able to do face-to-face programming, new and don’t know what all they have
    • Tech hiding in your closet –
      • 3D printers – the fan stopped working so could only print flat things, haven’t figured out how to calibrate dual head extruder, Sculpto 2 is new one that is smaller so can take across campus
      • Edison bots – too complicated to get up and going, can only get them to follow the torch, don’t let kids code on computer because was too hard to manage, barcodes not always working, tires get stuck all the time, people can check out and take home, some have just died, people like how they’re compatible w/ lego
      • MakeyMakey – limited use because of only her personal laptop, “say cheese” photo booth w/ laptop, need an adapter to use with an iPad, fruit piano, playdough keys, video games are popular
      • 3D pens – are for kids and get jammed, but can take apart, laminate templates to make flat pieces to hang up, make bridges, does a featured item for a week, can make mobiles, offer clear filament to practice with (Gizmo Dork), some of them are repairable/ can take apart to repair

What does Maker stuff look like right now at your library?

  • Would like to see how other libraries are offering programming, +1
  • How to align learning outcomes w/ maker technology
  • A brand new maker room in Downey library, looking forward to having classes
  • Still doing take-home kits, wondering how to get statistics on them
  • Supporting adult STEM activities and entrepreneurial endeavors, looking at finally getting classes up and going soon

Future Make It! ideas

1) Maker Meet Up 2 hours virtual meeting brainstorm

  • Maybe after fair season in August
  • Love that there’s stuff on Niche Academy to review later
  • Technology breakouts
    • VR
    • 3D printers
    • Glowforges/ laser cutters
    • Cutting machines
    • Low-tech
    • Sewing/ fibers
    • Food
    • Take and make activities

2) Like the idea of alternating online one year, in-person regional next year

Goal of offering STEAM programming

  • Hoping to open their minds to opportunities beyond HS > higher education
  • Helping people feel empowered, show them they can take existing things and make a new thing
  • Sparks interest in other library resources
  • “Happy mix” of online and physical resources
  • Get people in and be inspired to explore further
  • Takes people from consumer to creator and makes them part of a creator community

Future Make It LITT Chat idea > Take and Make

7 people attended

Programs for adults that didn’t go as planned:

  • Cricut class – didn’t make people pay upfront for bundle of supplies (hat, mug, shadow box, shirt) people didn’t show up, so library was left with too many supplies. Now they have people either pay upfront or give them a list to buy on their own supplies from
  • Cosplay – Because there were a lot of supplies and limited guidance, some people where overwhelmed. Lead had a hard time meeting sweet spot between totally open ended options and limiting creativity.  Going forward will have some premade ideas and allow participants to go off script of they want to.
  • Stuff management – Often, libraries are left with a lot of random supplies in their closets. When planning programs, do them in a way to reuse supplies down the road or have a craft supply swap event
  • Digital and paper scrap booking – these are popular events, successfully reached out to supply companies asking for donations/ samples
  • Gathered craft/ quilting supplies from the community to help make fidget quilts
  • Clothing swap – tie in with sewing machines to repair, alter clothing, or degenderize your clothing. Turn out was low, so trying to identify best time in student schedules. One long event can be intimidating. Sometimes low turnout isn’t a failure because people are still learning how to use equipment!

Programs for adults that went well:

  • Intro to laser engraving – had one person who already knew how to use, but nobody else did, so there were a lot of questions. Everyone made coasters and enjoyed it, but could see where another staff person to help answer questions would be good next time, or handouts with instructions and FAQs
  • Paranormal program for Halloween – focuses on folklore and witchcraft elements of paranormal. This will be the 3rd year and it fills the library.
  • Xeriscaping – had an expert speak about their experience and gave tips for how to get started
  • National pet day – “make your pet day” let students make items with their pet on it. They used inkjet transfer paper to iron onto shirts and tote bags. It pulled in a lot of people who may not have shown up to makerspace otherwise
  • Intro to Blender program – wide range of experience, and if people show up late then they miss key steps. There was a HUGE demand and need to identify how to do better next time.

Different levels of experience:

  • Spectrum of experience line up – attendees line up from beginner to experienced, have the top 2-5 step aside and have remaining count off by 2-5. You have now formed groups where learners can support each other.
  • One way to help get users from “they don’t belong” to “they do belong” is to ask them, “What have you made today? Your bed? A cup of coffee?” This helps them see the broader definition of “making”.
  • Not do art as if only artists can make art > convert thinking on that
  • The sample for an activity should be a “meh” project. Samples that have “mistakes” show there is room to grow and are more inspiring and put emphasis on the learning, not the finished thing.
  • Can address differing levels of experience on advertising by downplaying technology aspect and jargon, depending on target audience. “Learn to program in Arduino” vs. “Make a light up bracelet”.
  • Quilt club not advertised as a maker program, but mention when they show up, “Welcome to our maker event!”
  • Having the right level of scarcity means there’s more opportunity for sharing tools and consumables. This can also lead to learning from others. Finding the sweet spot of not too much, not enough.

2nd-6th grade STEAM resources:

5 attendees

AI apps we talked about

Articles, tools, and videos shared:

Points discussed:

  • Pen-plotter community > axi draw, > plotting enthusiasts using AI to create pieces they then plot
  • Making own anime character to spit out artwork
  • Students are mostly excited about it right now, not so much talking about ethics
  • Paying for something printed vs block cut then printed = human touch
  • If can’t buy the “real” artwork > this offers an alternative > income equity
  • Will this make it easier to more people to have artwork/ make artwork
  • What will happen to professional artists?
  • Push to find artwork that robots can’t make
  • Each AI tool has their own artistic “flavor” even if in style of specific artist
  • Is this like Canva? There are illustrators who know how to use deeper tools, and folks who “just need a graphic”
  • What do we consider art? Is AI an opportunity to push that to a new place
  • Info literacy – use this as the same as a database > use the same prompt but change one piece >> same thing!
  • Can this be used as a paint by numbers night > still tie into info literacy
  • Ethical and professional conversations around AI are similar to autotune and maybe photoshop
  • Is there “souless” art?
  • This is built from existing art, but what happens when/ if there is no new “real” art?
  • What if the AI starts to feed off of it’s own creations because that is the only thing out there
  • Have seen AI used to create animations, what does this mean for deepfakes?
  • Will there be an AI generated film soon? Will it be cheaper than what we do now?
  • Will AI generated CAD be something that could happen > reverse engineer something w/o having to learn CAD? > equalizing > mini manufacturing

General maker sharing:

  • Caldwell, Meridian, Community Library have great makerspaces to visit
  • Trash fashion programming with local artist where you make your own “trash bag”
  • Special Collections/ Library collaboration “Build your own exhibit” adventure, part of space is being remodeled
  • “What the Tech” is name of basic tech needs programming
  • How to get books published program led by local author

5 attendees

Upcoming programming people are excited about:

  • Home economic teacher coming in to do freeze ahead meals w/ extension office
  • Adult glowforge class
  • Kids after school T/ Th
  • March 6th makerspace grand opening – sewing machines, art supplies, cricut
  • First cricut class in April, basing off of
  • 3D printer being used to print arm parts, had to do some troubleshooting
  • Maker networking on second Saturday over the summers
  • How best to facilitate cricut classes

General discussion:

  • Glowforge premium membership, popular to engrave something on cutting boards, etched names on acrylic for gifts, seniors can use w/ laptops
  • 3D printing @ elementary school – class project
  • Give them a thumb drive to save file on
  • Low tech making – Graham cracker and cake decorating events > cake tips, yarn lovers
  • Fly tying class – all ages, local person who sells them and likes teaching the class, 4 hours, $10 to cover his time and supplies
  • What doing to help ensure people show up, post-covid hesitancy
    – partner w/ local church group to get people together w/o devices, 50-70 people, can borrow games that are played @ event, snacks, church paid to do a direct mail to everyone in community at beginning
    – Others still not showing up to events, sound like interested, but then low attendance
    – 25 seats at beginning, but over the weeks dwindles to 10 over a few weeks
    – Have to pay in advance otherwise don’t show up
  • Do we need to adjust what success looks like?
  • Glowforge/ cricut – have them bring their own items, and let them know what will/ won’t work
  • “Ladies night out” right before Christmas on a Saturday evening w/ multiple stations to make things, have snacks, annual events
  • Thinking of language around programming titles in general >> “Ladies night out” >> who is that leaving out? >> What if called “Friends night out”?
  • Glowforge workshop, what have people do while waiting while others are engraving >> have them make an appointment to engrave AFTER class one-one-one class is covering the software and see a basic project being made
  • Tips from Make It for for creating better promotional materials
  • Make It at the Library tutorials on Cutting Machines and Zines

5 attendees

What professional development opportunities would help you better serve your communities?
– 3D printer refresher
– Maker mindset refresher to help staff and users get past hurdles and learn tech problem solving skills
– Full curriculum for programs
– Discussed the context of the tech. Does it make sense for your community? Maybe it did at one point, but it doesn’t anymore.
– How to use multiple pieces of tech to make a single thing.
– How to make quality stickers, people are asking who want to prototype for a business
– Connect with community groups who might benefit from the tech you are no longer actively using in library.
– Would like a list of people who would teach specific topics or tech.

How do we want to share ideas and communicate between chats?
– Revive the listserv? Start two threads, one where people can post who are “looking for help with/ troubleshooting” and another that has details on programs people have done.
– Have Maker Meet-up at ILA every year where makers share programs, collect their slides in a document that is posted on Make It website

12 attendees

Erica Compton joined us from the newly formed, Idaho EcosySTEM (no-longer under the Idaho STEM Action Center) to help library makerspace staff better understand how the Idaho EcosySTEM can support the work they do going forward. Here is a recording and slides from a previous info session that covered the same material we did in our chat.

Additional notes from our chat:

  • Idaho STEM Action Center will be focusing on state-wide STEM workforce development
  • Idaho EcosySTEM will be focusing on regional STEM initiatives
  • There will an online portal to join that can connect libraries with other organizations supporting STEM learning
  • The portal will also be how libraries apply for funding and professional development opportunities
  • The hope is for the first round of funding to open up on October 15th

To stay in the loop for upcoming learning and funding opportunities, here are some next steps:

6 participants

Introduction question: What wast thing you made?
Branch weaving w/ yarn
Weaving w/ straws at Burley
Potato soup
Painted reindeer
Crochet blanket
Lunch time STEM program at New Horizon
Prototype for program, puppet/ automaton
Black Friday sales for supplies/ consumables
Balloon garland
Custom chocolate bar wrappers

We were joined by Trisha Mick from Idaho STEM Ecosystem

Idaho STEM Ecosystem is more boots on the ground
Idaho STEM Action Center is more legislative level

Have you or your libraries participated in Make It, what are you looking for with these LITTs/ Make It programs?
– valued the getting access to funding/ stuff
– valued learning

If you had to choose between funding or learning, which would you choose?
– Programming ideas, what hasn’t been done, new ways to use
– Need people to come in and lead programs
– Need professional development on learning new things, and how to make into a service

What do you like about LITT chats?
– see what people are doing
– get inspired
– Would like a place to share programming ideas w/ all the lesson plans, like this
– STEM Ecosystem will help connect to resources in their area
– Think, Make Create Labs that Annette mentioned,

STEM Ecosystem can help:
– find funding
– connect to resources/ people on their community platform
– Community is where can get troubleshooting tech help
– Place to show & tell what working on
– Group for Make It at the Library where can share programs, media center > upload tutorials and toolkits
– Have a 3D printer forum section?
– How to do low tech maker stuff with adults
– Hopefully since it’s password protected and targeted > can get ideas in save space > NOT FB > less likely to be blocked
– Events for PD, you can add events you want to share w/ community, mostly for educators
– New articles that are relevant to STEAM > grants
– When fill out profile, share what can provide to community
– Just because they are in a different region, they might be able to travel to different region
– Regional Hub Coordinators and contact information:
– Help community members transition from “hobby to hustle” if they are looking to start a business


– Find grant opportunities
– $500-5,000 for regional grants, they have streamlined process, rolling timeline
– Round 2 are currently open, close Jan 28th if miss deadline, automatically rolls over to next round
– Spend w/in a year of receiving funds

Questions or comments about LITT: Makers chats? Contact Deana.


Early Learning LITT Discussion

August 15, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm MDT

LITT: On the Move – Summer Outreach Successes!

August 20, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm MDT

Early Learning LITT Discussion

October 17, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm MDT

Early Learning LITT Discussion

December 19, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm MST

Deana Brown

Adult Services Consultant
Email / 208-639-4156
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