Maker Workshop

In this multi-faceted online course, you’ll create a maker program that aligns with your budget and community needs, with personal coaching from maker experts—from libraries and beyond.

Live Interactive Sessions on Wednesdays from 2–4 PM ET: May 23 & June 6.

Maker Expo: Featuring littlebits, plus other product demos and giveaways on Wednesday, May 30, 11 AM ET.

Bridged with Homework, Online Workshops, Resources, and Discussions designed to help you build your own Maker Program. Certificate of Completion Provided.

Also available On Demand! Can’t make a live session? All sessions will be available to you ‘on demand’ following the initial broadcast.

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The best makerspaces are a place for authentic collaboration, where many voices are heard and many hands are involved. They connect us to our patrons in real, tangible ways, and provide fertile ground for addressing the needs of our communities. In this latest installment of our popular Maker Workshop, you’ll learn how to build a maker program from scratch—or boost an existing one—with guidance on how to identify and meet your community’s needs through making.

Through the course, you’ll gain a deep understanding of what community connected making looks like and how you too can tap into the potential of your users to design a successful—and sustainable—program. Topics will include, health and wellness maker programs, how to engage underserved users, crowdfunding your makerspace, and launching a sustainable maker program from scratch.

As a participant in the course, you will view live sessions and join the conversation via live chat. (All sessions are recorded for on-demand access) Most important, you’ll work with a dedicated adviser in an online coaching environment to gather resources and best practices and connect with peers from across North America (and beyond).

When you attend this interactive online course, you’ll learn from experienced leaders how to:

  • Assess your community’s needs, and build actionable blueprints for inclusive maker programs tailored to serve diverse groups – from the underserved to the elderly.
  • Design and launch a maker program from scratch, from ideation to execution, including making the case to stakeholders and funders
  • Create a program that is truly sustainable—in effort, resources, and audience engagement

You’ll also:

  • Learn from model programs and connect with fellow makers
  • Join a network of learners in a dedicated Facebook group and Slack workspace, with channels to help you connect with like-minded makers
  • Encounter the latest in maker tech and tools during our special Maker Expo, featuring product demos and giveaways! More details to come.

The course features live guest speakers in interactive sessions with Q&A. You’ll work in small groups with facilitators experienced in the maker movement to complete assignments and field research in your library that will fuel your maker program ideas.

Online Course Features

  • Instructor-led online courses feature personalized interaction over three weeks
  • Real-time guest speakers and conversation via live webcast (with recordings available afterward)
  • Homework assignments to help you make progress on your goals
  • Individualized attention from course facilitators who work with you in a coaching environment to help sort out challenges
  • Ongoing group conversation via discussion forums
  • Articles, videos and other resources
  • Access all course content for 6 months after the course ends
  • Bonus: Register early and get immediate access to archival video recordings from related courses

Group discounts are available!

Register in groups for a unique team-building experience and get everyone working together. Contact us to learn more.

Sponsored by:


Who should take this course?

Librarians and educators interested in overseeing or developing maker-oriented programming for the library. The course content will be relevant to librarians in schools or public libraries who serve various age groups and demographics. Participants will walk away with a plan for the launch of their maker program.

Inspiring Live Guest Speakers + Project-Based Learning

Engage with presenters via live video stream, visual presentations, and chats, and workshop practical ideas in groups, with guidance from an advisor, to map out your own maker program.


Guest speakers share their experience in presentations, delivered live via webcast (with recordings available afterward); you can join in the conversation via instant message chat for Q&A.


Facilitators provide one-on-one, written feedback to your assignments. They also answer questions, provide resources, and guide peer group discussion.

 Course Schedule

Week 1: Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Session 1: Making for All Audiences

2:00-2:40 PM ET (Additional speakers at 3:40 PM ET)

In the opening session of the Maker Workshop, we explore how you can create an inclusive maker program that welcomes all members of your community. Speakers will share their tried-and-tested approaches to planning and delivering activities intended to serve all, from rural communities and learners of color to cross-generational audiences.

Session A: Fostering “Invention Literacy”

Hands-on projects engage students, but they need to lead the learning. In this session, star maker educator Colleen Graves demonstrates how to facilitate student agency in her work serving a low-income, rural school community, with ideas for high and low-tech activities.


Colleen GravesMaker and Teacher Librarian, CC Mason Elementary (TX)

Session B: A Model for Maker-Based Learning: Lessons from the Wonder Workshop

A maker-infused curriculum might seem like a fantasy, but it’s working in one Oakland, CA, school. Learn the steps of creating a sustainable maker program that has a diverse population, including special education students, fully engaged, with teachers and families enthusiastically on board, too.


Paula Mitchell
Paula MitchellTeacher on Special Assignment Maker Education, Grass Valley Elementary School (CA)

Session 2: Growing Communities: Garden Towers at the Library

2:40-3:00 PM ET

In their quest to develop programming that would appeal to all ages and immediately engage interest, Gwinnett Public Library launched Homegrown Gwinnett, a Tower Garden project, which did more than create a sustainable STEM programming tool. Learn how the library’s IMLS-funded project grew into a civic engagement element that addressed food insecurity in the surrounding community and strengthened the library’s connection to its neighbors. You’ll come away with practical insight you can apply to building a community oriented program of your own.


Meg Wilson
Meg Wilson, Branch Manager, Gwinnett County Public Library (GA)


3:00-3:15 PM ET

Session 3: Engaging Teens in Tech

3:15-3:40 PM ET

A library makerspace can enable teens to experiment, collaborate, and tinker with technology outside of school. With insight from the Best Buy Teen Tech Center at Hennepin County (MN) Library, learn how to create an inclusive teen-oriented space to help young people pursue their interests and build technology skills toward careers, from filmmaking and music and audio production, to video game and mobile app development. Empowering teens to lead program development is the secret sauce. In this session, learn how adults can serve as facilitators and, together with community volunteers, mentor teens to help grow their passions.


Anna DeGroot Amelia Hansa Sumaya Hanafi
Anna Schwindt DeGroot, Service Manager, Hennepin County Library (MN)
Amelia Hansa, Tech Center Coordinator, Hennepin County Library (MN)
Sumaya Hanafi, Teen Tech Squad Member, Best Buy Teen Tech Center, Hennepin County Library (MN)

Session 4: Making for All Audiences, continued

3:40-4:00 PM ET (Additional speakers at 2 PM ET)

In this session of the Maker Workshop, we explore how you can create an inclusive maker program that welcomes all members of your community. Speakers will share their tried-and-tested approaches to planning and delivering activities intended to serve all, from rural communities and learners of color to cross-generational audiences.

Session C: Bringing STEM to Underserved Communities

Exposure to science and technology is critical for our users. With so many lacking access due to geographic location and income, you need to bring STEM to them. Glean strategies for integrating STEM and the arts with the curriculum in and out of school and learn a model for successful teacher collaboration. Youth development through mentorship will also be covered.


Jerry Valadez
Jerry Valadez, President, Community Science Workshop Network (CA)

Intersession – Maker Expo: Wednesday, May 30, 2018

This program includes a special Maker Expo featuring demos from leading tech startups that focus on innovations in making, from crafting to coding!

Makerspace in a Box: Getting Started with littleBits – Sponsored SessionlittleBits

11:00-11:30 AM ET

littleBits is a 21st century tool for STEM/ STEAM learning. The easy-to-use electronic building blocks snap together with magnets empowering everyone to create inventions, large and small. Head of Education Strategy, Dr. Azi Jamalian, will share proven strategies to bring and scale hands-on coding and STEM in your classroom, school library, or maker space. Live attendees will have a chance to win one littleBits Code Kit (Value: $299.95)


Azi Jamalian
Azi Jamalian, Head of Education Strategy, littleBits

Maker Expo

11:30 AM-1:00 PM ET

This special session of the Maker Workshop will feature a mix of leading tech startups that focus on innovations in making, plus giveaways of their exciting products!

Featuring Product Demos from:

Limor “ladyada” Fried, Founder & Engineer, Adafruit
Tom Heck, VP for Education Initiatives, Makey Makey
Bryan L. Miller, Director of Strategic Education Outreach, Wonder Workshop
Jie Qi
, Cofounder and Creative Director, Chibitronics

Giveaways include:

Week 2: Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Session 1: How to Do a Needs Assessment

2:00-2:20 PM ET

Serving your community is critical to a successful maker effort. Get the ins and outs of conducting a community assessment in this session, with tips on related tools and resources, and how to find and work with local partners.


Linda Braun
Linda Braun, Educational Consultant, LEO: Librarians & Educators Online

Session 2: Launch a Sustainable Maker Program from Scratch

2:20-3:00 PM ET

The maker movement has matured, with successful models that can inform us with data and best practices. From launching basics to tips on  crowdfunding, this session will offer unique insight from Making Spaces, a national network of educational maker programs.


Lisa Brahms
Lisa Brahms, Director of Learning and Research, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh


3:00-3:15 PM ET

Session 3: The Ugly Side of Making, with a Side of Crochet

3:15-3:45 PM ET

Craft projects don’t always come out pretty—and that’s OK. Shift the DIY mindset from visions of Etsy and embrace the imperfect, in this fun and inspiring take on creativity from the camp counselor for grownups, Kim Werker. And keep that crochet needle handy.


Kim Werker
Kim Werker, Author, Make it Mighty Ugly; Camp Counselor for Grown-Ups

Session 4: Community Practice: Black Panther, Digital Fabrication, and the SCOPES-DF Project

3:45-4:00 PM ET

In this exciting session with Sonya Pryor-Jones, you’ll hear about the Black Panther Collection, the latest effort from the Fab Foundation to build pathways to STEM education and democratize access to technology. Pryor-Jones will also share the work of the SCOPES-DF project, a robust initiative offering resources for K-12.


Sonya Pryor Jones
Sonya Pryor-Jones, Chief Implementation Officer, The Fab Foundation


When you register for the workshop, you’ll receive access to SLJ ’s Maker Video Library, our newest maker resource, which currently hosts more than 30 curated expert-led videos totaling more than 1,350 hours. It is full of awesome, actionable ideas and guidance for any size budget, and (any size) space. Videos include presenter demos, PowerPoints, references for additional resources and recorded Q&As with course participants.