Make It @ Your Library partners with Illinois State Library to circulate Maker Kits.

Contact: Katy A. Hite, 614­738­5958

February 1, 2016

CHICAGO ­ In collaboration with the Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White, Make It @ Your Library will begin circulating Maker Kits to libraries throughout Illinois. The Maker Kits are intended to bring maker technology and programming to as many Illinois libraries as possible, and will be made available for delivery via the Illinois Library Delivery Service.

Make It @ Your Library is funded through the Knight Prototype Fund, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It was a winner of the 2015 Knight News Challenge on Libraries.

“Using this kit helped me to learn not to be so afraid of technology. I learned how to fix a piece of equipment and was better able to help students at the high school when they launched their SPiN Club and built their own 3D printers”, said Cary Gibbons of Fondulac District Library, after receiving a 3D printing kit during a pilot phase of this project. Gibbons went on to say that working with the kit was a lot of fun, and that “having the printer at FDL was an amazing learning experience and I think staff are now prepared if we were to have a 3D printer in permanent residence.”

“One of our goals with this project is to cut down on the anxiety and apprehension that comes with trying new products, while continuing to support the Maker Movement across Illinois,” said Amy Killebrew, Emerging Technologies Librarian at Columbia College Chicago, and founding member of Make It @ Your Library.

“Throughout my tenure as Secretary of State and State Librarian, I have made it a priority to offer statewide high quality continuing education programs that strengthen resource sharing and cooperation among Illinois libraries,” said White. “I am proud that a team from my ILEAD USA continuing education program has achieved their goal of sustaining their project as an ongoing library program.”

“I am positive that libraries will be excited and enthusiastic about the ways the staff can use new technologies with their patrons. Library staff and patrons will have fun while also learning a lot. The staff at the State Library were thrilled to have an opportunity to work with the maker kits earlier this month.” states Illinois State Library Director Anne Craig. Craig pinpoints the need this service is fulfilling by going on to say that “libraries of all types are very interested in new technologies but are concerned about outlays of money without having some experience with the technologies. We are very grateful to the ILEAD team [Make It @ Your Library] and Knight Foundation for providing the kits that allow libraries to try out the new technologies ahead of time.”

“The project will help advance the role of libraries as places to learn about and discover new technologies. It encourages people to create and collaborate in an essential community hub,” said Chris Barr, Knight Foundation director for media innovation.

The Maker Kits include 3­D printers, Strawbees, LittleBits circuits, Dash and Dot robots, button makers, Makey Makey circuits, Sphero robots, Silhouette Cameo 2­D design and image cutters and 3­D Doodler pens. The kits can be requested via I­Share or OCLC. Search for the kits by title beginning with “Make It @ Your Library.” If a kit is not available, contact the State Library circulation desk at or 217­782­7573 to reserve a copy.

About Make It @ Your Library

Make it @ Your Library, initially developed as part of ILEAD USA, an IMLS grant funded library program, helps librarians realize makerspace projects in their communities. Through its web page, libraries of all stripes and sizes can locate and experiment with maker projects. Make it @ Your Library believes that content creation in the library is a vital direction for libraries to pursue and that sharing Maker Kits with Illinois libraries will encourage library staff and patrons to continue to tinker, experiment, collaborate, and learn new skills.

About the Illinois State Library

The Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White and the State Library provide support, through grant programs, to over 3,370 public, academic, school, and special libraries throughout Illinois that together comprise the Illinois Library and Information Network (ILLINET). These grant programs are used to expand library services, enhance technology, build and renovate libraries, as well as provide support for the statewide delivery service for library materials. Basic adult literacy instruction is provided through grant programs administered through the State Library's Literacy Office. Additionally, the Talking Book and Braille Service (TBBS) serves the needs of the visually impaired through support of the activities of the Illinois Network of Libraries Serving the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

The Illinois State Library is the principal information resource for state government. The library has a collection of more than 5 million items and subscribes to numerous electronic databases and services that allow patrons access to thousands of additional resources. The State Library serves as regional federal documents depository, maintains an authoritative collection of historic and contemporary Illinois documents, and houses more than 185,000 maps.