I missed this during June 3oth, but definitely made up for it later…On July 2nd!
Okay, so normally, the last speaker would be the closing of the Conference, right? However, today, after I grabbed what I need to and though my day would end walking through Chicago, packing and ready to lift out of Chicago on Wednesday, I had an “educational field trip” – adding to my widening experience of how libraries are tightening the gap between stereotypical libraries and innovation.
On the shuttle bus home from the McCormick Convention Center, I sat beside someone named Rachel Hellenga. I had really no idea who she was and I found out she was traveling to the Chicago Public Library and was going to take a taxi. I told her her about the Chicago Hilton shuttle, putting us a few blocks away from the Hilton, so we rode there together. In talking, I heard Rachel say she was involved in the MakerSpaces Lab at the Chicago Library. I paused. In walking through the Chicago Public Library a few days ago, I had saw this amazing new section of the Library that looked like a computer lab, yet had equipment inside that I didn’t recognize, and something just want me to know more. Add to that the fact I had seen many workshops that were described as information on MakerLabs, and I had NO IDEA what that meant but I felt I was missing out on something BIG. SO when this came up, I had to find out more. So sure, I abandoned my cleaning up plans to ready for Mexico and wanted to find out more! 🙂 I learned that Rachel (as you know from the above links) was working with this particular museum in a textile-based project in the Makers Lab! WOW! It was exciting to see how involved, creative, and extending she was in getting projects to the public and working with this MakerLab.
On the way walking to the Chicago Library, we were stopped by some individuals raising moneys for anti-hate reasons and we donated funds towards them, me being conservative and donating $5.00 a month to start. This is a picture of Rachel with the two representatives on the street collecting funds, the organization titled The Human Rights Campaign.
As we made our way into the Library and up to the third floor, we met Yolande Wilburn. I would find out Yolande was in charge of putting the pieces together that would create the Maker Spaces Lab at the library. Through the course of the day, I witnessed her fit over 6 different appointments in a very tightly space of time, including a representative for DISNEY, all in getting this opportunity for the MakerLab to be open to the public and create a whole new approach to what libraries can offer. I have to say, I was so incredibly impressed with the drive, patience, and overwhelming ability to handle so many appointments at one time. It was stressful for ME to see and know Yolande’s time was so limited and yet trying to squeeze it all on. Yet, what Yolande Wilburn is doing is AMAZING, she is creating a whole new extension of the library and meeting the public on a new plain, shifting the paradigm of what libraries have been known for and providing an avenue in the library, that has not or might not be available to many people. She impressed me so much and her innovation with the Chicago Library is AWESOME.
In taking some pics of the Innovation Lab, I realized the 3D printer, and the capabilities of this lab could only be the beginning, and I realized what the lab could be for people that would not have a chance to travel to a college campus to get involved in such innovation!
This was a GREAT way to end the last day in Chicago, as whether I realized it or not, I got in a workshop experience without realizing it. I did begin to realize the excitement behind Maker Labs and what they were intended to do, and was so amazed to have spent the time with these individuals – what a learning experience. There will need to be one more post I will make, but believe it or not, it took me this whole week of being home AFTER the conference to recount and document the amazing tools we can each take with us and add to a curriculum to a new school year. It is so easy to walk away and forget to write down, or reflect on the experiences we learned and obtained from conferences, but in doing so, we lay down a bridge for tools that can help bring creativity, excitement, and useful technology that transforms not only the way we teach, but the way we interpret information on the other side of the desk!