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Programming: STEAM and Makerspaces


A Makerspace is a collaborative work area in your library. It should be a place for exploring, sharing, and learning about anything. Your makerspace might include LEGOs, craft supplies, robots, 3D printers and pens, perler beads, or even a sewing machine. A makerspace becomes whatever the makers need it to be.

The space doesn't need to be a dedicated room. It can be a Maker-Cart or Maker-Table or even a Maker-Bin where the contents are constantly changing. The goal is for the library to transform into a space where patrons, young and old, can create.


Rocket, Vector, Space, Launch, Spaceship, DesignPaint, Brush, Paint Brush, Color, Paintbrush, PainterEarth, Globe, Plant, Eco, Green, Nature, Preserve

Kawaii, Cute, Japanese, Character, Cartoon

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. Programming around STEAM's core ideas is as simple as identifying a problem, brainstorming and designing a solution, getting feedback, improving the design, and sharing the results.

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction defines STEAM education as an integrated and blended curriculum that is driven by creative thinking, problem-solving, discovery, and student-centered development of ideas and solutions. Often, kids question why they have to learn certain skills because they see no relevance to their lives. STEAM programming helps students make those real-life connections.

Many well-known stories provide problems that are easy to identify and provide fun opportunities for problem-solving. For instance, for Humpty Dumpty, students could design an egg protection system, and prove its efficacy by dropping their egg from a certain height. For the story of The Three Little Pigs, students could design buildings that could sustain a breeze, such as that created by a fan. All these examples would use recycled materials to create the structures (such as cardboard, Styrofoam pieces, plastic containers, etc.) and thus be fairly low-cost in terms of materials needed.

If you want to start STEAM programming in you library or makerspace, check out the resources below for ideas:

Free/Open Source Software

All of our Coding Club, Hour of Code, and computer programming resources can be found here!

STEM/ STEAM Resources

Books Available from NDSL

IMLS logo

Many of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.