Running a Tight Ship

What are the processes you need to have in place to enable the youth you serve, and your frontline staff, to thrive? We identified the Running a Tight Ship theme when we discussed the challenges around providing relevant youth programs, expanding our programs, and supporting new administrative leadership and capacity building.


Designing Customized Maker Experiences Across Multiple Locations Focused on Space and Staff
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh  has been supporting The Labs teen makerspaces at 5 of the 19 library system locations since 2012. The goal since The Labs inception, however, has been to work toward spreading programming equitably across the entire library system. How can we create flexible designs that enable making to happen in libraries of all sizes? How can we integrate The Labs model of mentorship and making into programming and services in all CLP locations?


Administrative Task Division Among Mentor Staff
Evolving programming needs demanded that the Free Library of Phialdelphia’s Maker Jawn Mentors take on administrative duties on top of their duties as mentors. How could we work to identify and equitably distribute tasks among ourselves in a way that would support our program and our individual professional growth?


Onboarding New Management: Transferring Enthusiasm as Well as Responsibilities
Taking on the oversight of a makerspace adds new dimensions to the responsibilities of anyone who is charged with the task. Billings Public Library shifted responsibilities for managing their popular T.E.C.H. Lab from the IT manager to the library’s Assistant Director. How did we ensure that new management understood the goals of the space, the role the space plays in the larger organization, and the needs the space fulfills in the community? How did we transfer the enthusiasm for the project along with the responsibilities?


Shifting Roles: From Mentor to Administrator
As Anythink’s digital learning lab and makerspace matured, new staff roles were required to support the space. Mentors were asked to take on more administrative duties and a new position was created to guide the program at multiple sites. How do we facilitate shifting roles in a way that will have beneficial outcomes for our spaces and staff?


Creating Collaborative Partner Programming
Library programming with partner organizations tends to skim the surface of learning, but what if we leveraged partnerships to help youth in maker programs reach the geeking out stage of HOMAGO? The Labs @ Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has been creating a structure for these types of partnerships. How do we organize thematic program series geared toward deeper learning? How do we develop templates for documents that will help staff manage the partnerships necessary for offering such learning opportunities?


Evolving Community Guidance for the Mission of Makerspaces
At Billings Public Library, community excitement for the brand new state-of-the-art library and teen digital learning lab was high at the start. Community partners came forward to help make the library and T.E.C.H. Lab a welcoming space. But how could we shift the vital community guidance towards supporting the evolving needs of the changing space after successfully navigating  our lab’s start-up challenges?