New Jersey Library Makerspaces – The Leading Edge, 2013-2014

A Makerspace houses a community of Makers. Its a place where someone would come to learn how to use a new tool or material in a new way, or to see what others are working on because they might want to help out on that project or start something similar. Ideally, your Makerspace should be conducive to inspiration, collaboration, and conversation.   (Makerspace Playbook, p.13)


Project Documents

Makerspaces Project Description & Details WORD PDF
Makerspaces Project Application WORD PDF
Makerspaces Project Form WORD PDF
Subsidy Chart WORD PDF

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Goal: Expand New Jersey library horizons with services models that transcend traditional roles.


  • Jumpstart a pilot project in direct response to library community input during the Statewide Strategic Planning Process (FY2013).
  • Subsidize selected LibraryLinkNJ member libraries statewide to achieve a local Makerspace strategic goal.
  • Foster connection development in New Jersey libraries where users can connect, explore, and create.
  • Challenge libraries to expand their education role to embrace and model the new culture of learning by exploring play, innovation, and the cultivation of the imagination as cornerstones of learning.
    (from: Brown, John Seely and Douglas Thomas. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011)
  • Encourage collaboration among and with the school/academic community to highlight and support 21st Century teaching and learning.

Measures of Success:

  • At least five to ten library entities of varying sizes and types develop and launch Makerspace initiatives within the contract period.
  • Library Makerspace initiatives demonstrate partnerships with local institutions, organizations and/or businesses.
  • Contract libraries promote and document community response and impact.

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Introduction and Project Rationale

Makerspaces: its time!

The New Jersey State Library and LibraryLinkNJ are proud to announce our Makerspace initiative for 2013-2014: New Jersey Library Makerspaces The Leading Edge.

Many of you have heard about Makerspaces and some of you may be a little intimidated at the thought of creating one. Perhaps you know that it may involve a 3-D printer, an embroidery machine, the Arduino prototyping platform, a variety of technology and digital equipment — including still and video cameras — drawing tablets, and video and photo editing software. Sound a little scary?

Think back to when you saw your very first computer or e-reader. Remember asking yourself how you would ever learn how to use it, much less be able to teach someone else the basics? Well, not only did you learn it you mastered it, and now its become an integral part of your librarys daily life.

If you have ever incorporated crafts into your storytimes, hosted a quilting group or knitting circle or been a faculty adviser to a robotics club, youve already created a Makerspace. The contemporary Makerspace is really about bringing people together to create something using digital or analog technology. Such spaces can both enrich and empower library users lives. Its an extension of the librarys mission — a place of lifelong learning and community engagement — be it public, academic, school, medical or other type of library. The strategic anchor for proceeding is the goal for any type of library to be a place to draw in current and new library users of all ages to connect, experiment, and create with a myriad of technology and other materials in a team, as a family, or as lone explorers.

The Makerspace project addresses a driving need expressed by New Jerseys librarians in meetings, focus groups, LibraryLinkNJs membership survey, emails and phone calls. The Makerspace concept is one of the hottest service areas discussed in the library press, in association conferences, and among colleagues. It was one of the top choices for projects the library community designated to move forward in our Statewide Strategic Plans focus groups.

So if you have the initiative, we have the funding!

No match is required. We offer a straight subsidy to get your Makerspace up and running. The subsidy chart and application details are below, as are the details pertaining to application eligibility.

What will kill our profession is not e-books, Amazon, or Google, but a lack of imagination. 
–R. David Lankes, iSchool at Syracuse University


Project Description

Submit any questions by email to Sophie Brookover, Since we anticipate many similar and repeat questions, we will address them in a regularly updated FAQ page on the project website.


Project Launch:   September 11, 2013
Application Deadline:  December 11, 2013
Evaluation Period: December 13, 2013 – January 6, 2014
Award Notification Date:  January 8, 2014
Implementation Deadline:   September 9, 2014
Participant Project Report Date:  November 21, 2014

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New Jersey State Library    $50,000
LibraryLinkNJ   $50,000  (approved by membership on 6/18/13)
Project Total:  $100,000

LibraryLinkNJ and its services are funded by the New Jersey State Library, which is responsible for the coordination, promotion and funding of the New Jersey Library Network.

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Eligibility, Application, Contract Award and Subsidy Process


  • LibraryLinkNJ public, school, academic, hospital/medical libraries and library-related agencies that are in good standing and have not yet implemented a Makerspace strategy are eligible to apply for a contract award and the subsidy.
  • Eligible libraries may apply for both the Mobile Services Project launched June 3 and the Makerspace Initiative.

Application Process:

  • Eligible LibraryLinkNJ member libraries that have not yet implemented a Makerspace should fill out and submit the application form in a pdf by email (required) to the LibraryLinkNJ Executive Director. The submission deadline is December 11, 2013 at 4:00pm. An earlier submission date is allowed.
  • Project partners will review each application for required elements. Incomplete applications will be deemed ineligible.
  • Applications accumulate until the start date for evaluation.
  • A Makerspace Evaluation Task Force will evaluate all eligible applications.
  • Libraries that apply agree to submit final fiscal and project reports to LibraryLinkNJ no later than November 21, 2014.
  • Participating libraries must agree that the New Jersey State Library and LibraryLinkNJ can share their report data with the membership, the library community outside the state, and selected media venues.
  • The Project Timeline details all the application process dates.

Contract Award Process:

  • The criteria for receiving a contract award include:
  • Applicant fulfills application process and signs contract award agreement if so offered.
  • Applicant provides evidence of community input toward project.
  • Applicant partners with a local institution(s), organization(s) and/or business(es). This is not required but is encouraged.
  • Applicant describes current staff knowledge/capacity & interest, including approaches to staff training, staff scheduling, and programmatic scheduling.
  • Task Force evaluation will use a rubric which lists required elements and has point differentiations for the responses from applicants. Each of the following categories will be ranked in the range from 1 to 10, where the project application requirements are: not met (0), partially met (1-6), fully met (7) and exceeded (8-10).
    1. Application Certification
    2. Overall Makerspace Project Table depth and clarity
    3. Project Description including goal(s) and objective(s)
    4. Description of potential Makerspace vendors and products in relation to project goal
    5. Project Budget
    6. Description of Staff Commitment
    7. Overview of Implementation Timeline
    8. Description of Marketing Strategy and Public Relations Plan
    9. Description of Evaluation Plan
    10. Description of Sustainability Plan 

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Subsidy Level:

Public Libraries


Population Served Subsidy 
 Fewer than 14,999 $3,750
15,000 24,999   $3,750 
25,000 37,499 $5,000 
37,500 49,999 $7,500
50,000 99,999  $10,000
Greater than 100,000   $12,500


Academic, Hospital/Medical Libraries

FTE  Subsidy
 Fewer than 2,499  $3,750
 2,500 4,999 $3,750 
5,000 7,499  $5,000
7,500 9,999 $7,500
  10,000 19,000   $10,000 
Greater than 20,000     $12,500 



School Libraries

Organization Type Subsidy 
 Public School District can be used with a single school as a pilot or several schools within a district  $5,000
Private School   $3,750 



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Makerspace Resources

The Makerspace Project’s rationale is rooted in the Seven Strategic Goals that form the basis of the Statewide Strategic Plan for the Future of Libraries in New Jersey.

The Seven Strategic Goals are:

  • Communicating the value of libraries
  • Leadership and coordination
  • Collaboration and partnerships
  • Library as community anchor
  • Cycles of innovation
  • Professional development and self-care
  • Creative funding

The Makerspace Project supports New Jersey libraries in meeting each of these goals. We look forward to seeing how our subsidy-winning members harness their creativity to put them into action, and hope the resources below will inspire and assist you! Please let us know if you have any suggestions to add to the mix.

NJ Library Makerspaces

Piscataway Public Library: Make It Yourself
Make It Yourself (MiY) gives residents of all ages access to tools, techniques and hands-on learning experiences that will spark their imaginations and enrich their lives. A particular focus will be given to young people, with the goal of inspiring/nurturing their interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). STEM education is increasingly important as students prepare for careers in our 21st century, technology-dependent, global economy.

Monroe Township Library: Studio M
A new maker lab dedicated to the discovery and implementation of popular and emergent technologies. Studio M provides library patrons with access to tools and hands-on learning opportunities. Studio M is also open for informal exploration.

Hillsdale Public Library: Think It – Make It – Share It
Hillsdale hosts a series of creative, collaborative programs using lower-tech, lower-cost activities. Their hands-on projects bring community members together to dream, create and share their work. This year’s series is just getting started; here are activities from last year. They are also running a game series called Play! – players participate in fun contests to win prizes.

Other Makerspaces Around (or near) NJ

Rutgers University: Headquarters at Rutgers

Hoboken MakerBar

Institute for Exploratory Research, Wall, NJ

The Factory Workers, Collingswood, NJ

Department of Making and Doing, Philadelphia, PA

NextFab Studio, Philadelphia, PA

Library Makerspaces Around the United States

Westport Public Library (CT): MakerSpace

Chattanooga Public Library (TN): 4th Floor

Chicago Public Library (IL): Maker Lab

Cleveland Public Library (OH): TechCentral

North Carolina State University: Makerspace


Guides, Slides, Websites, etc.

New Jersey Makerspace Association

Makerspace Playbook

ALA webinar on Westport Public Librarys Makerspace Project (October 15, 2012, 86 slides)

A Librarians Guide to Makerspaces: 16 Resources (March 13, 2013)

A Librarians Guide to Supporting the Maker Movement

How Teenage Girls With Power Tools Transformed a Neighborhood (article in Good magazine) 

List of Digital Media Labs & Makerspaces in libraries nationwide