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Library makerspaces for young children: a national conference

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MakEY in libraries

The UK is one of the 7 countries involved with the EU wide MakEY research project which has been looking at ways of engaging younger children (3-8 years old) and their families in STEM learning and art. The MakEY project, led by Professor Jackie March at the University of Sheffield worked in Sheffield schools, museums and libraries. Due to the success of the pop up makerspace in Sheffield central library, Dr Liz Chesworth established an offshoot to the MakEY project (funded by the University of Sheffield’s Knowledge Exchange and Impact Opportunities Scheme).

The aims of the project were to:

  • work with 3 library services (Barnsley, Sheffield and South Tyneside) to provide makerspace workshops for 3-8 year-olds and their families
  • compare and contrast the success and challenges of the workshops in relation to the nature of each library context for example pop-up makerspace, permanent provision, drop-in event, bookable session
  • from these workshops, develop a set of guidelines and resources that can be used by other library services who wish to develop makerspaces for children aged 3-8 and their families
  • work with the Libraries Taskforce to disseminate the materials to libraries nationally via a national conference and through newsletters, blogs
Photo of a group of young children sitting on the floor in a library, clustered around a board. an adult is sitting with them, showing them a robot about to enter a maze on the board
Code and Go storytime. Photo credit: Cheshire West and Chester libraries

National conference

This November come along to the conference where you can:

  • learn about how to offer makerspace activities for young children in libraries
  • find out more about makerspaces and their value
  • try out some simple and fun maker activities

The library staff from Barnsley, Sheffield and South Tyneside will share their experiences at the conference, and additional sessions will be offered by staff in other councils who have undertaken work in this area: Denise Jones (Liverpool), Amy Hearn (Leeds) and Maria Reguera (Redbridge). You will also have the chance to tinker and hack in a hands-on workshop offered by Mark Shillitoe, an Apple Educator.

Photo of a young boy sitting in front of a computer screen, holding a micro:bit computer, wich is surrponded by bright lights in the shape of a star
Micro:bit making in Liverpool central library. Photo credit: Neil Stewart

Who is it for?

This conference is for anyone interested in maker activities, you don’t need to have a makerspace in your library.

Booking details

The conference will be held on Wednesday 7 November at the Novotel, Sheffield (10.00 – 15.30). Lunch and refreshments will be provided. You can book your free ticket via eventbrite.

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