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IMLS & Children’s Museum to Partner on Makerspaces Project

Washington, D.C.—At a meeting of the National Museum and Library Services Board IMLS announced an initiative with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh (CMP) to build the capacity of libraries and museums to develop effective makerspaces and programs.  In recent years there has been an explosion of interest among museums and libraries in the hands-on, mentor-led learning environments known as makerspaces.  The maker movement has spread with hundreds of thousands of people participating in Maker Faires across the country and across the globe. The White House recently announced plans for a 2014 White House Maker Faire. 

With $425,192 in IMLS support, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, working in conjunction with the North Carolina State University Library, Exploratorium, Chicago Public Library, and Maker Education Initiative, among others, on the project.  The project aims to provide museum and library professionals with a suite of tools and resources, hands-on professional development experiences, and a community of practice. The project’s website and online publication will share the framework, makerspace studies, research and evaluation reports, as well as resources for field wide replication.  Libraries and museums are encouraged to follow the effort’s progress at learningandmaking.org.

IMLS Director Susan H. Hildreth said, “It is exciting to know that this IMLS investment will enable museums and libraries to bring their unique spaces, expertise, and collections to the makers movement. This grant positions libraries and museums as innovation hubs and reinforces their roles as anchor learning institutions in their communities.”

“Since 2011, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh has played a major role in connecting the maker movement to the informal learning sphere on both a local and national level in alignment with its mission to provide innovative museum experiences that inspire joy, creativity, and curiosity”, stated Children’s Museum Executive Director Jane Werner. “We look forward to working with IMLS to coordinate a national program focused on building a field-wide understanding of making in museums and libraries, and sharing knowledge and tools to build the capacity of libraries and museums to develop effective makerspaces and programs.”

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.

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