I’ve always considered the library to be “the original internet”. Since ancient times libraries have served as the main storage facilities of all public information and knowledge. They are quiet places where introverts work happily on their creative and intellectual pursuits, surrounded by all the resources they could ever need.
Despite the fact that we makers work noisily in groups, the Maker Jawn Initiative is a logical extension of many of these traditions. We help foster the same interest-driven, informal education that has brought people into libraries for generations. Just like books, computers, and DVDs, Maker Mentors are now a resource that library patrons can use to pursue their own interests further.
In the case of the kids at Cecil B. Moore Library, their main interest is currently Five Nights at Freddy’s- a video game about a Chuck E. Cheese style restaurant where animatronic animals jump out of the dark and scare people. Last week some of the makers decided they wanted to learn how to draw the characters from the game, so we pulled up a Youtube tutorial on how to do it. They were all really focused on this activity and everyone ended up with a picture they felt really good about. Even some kids who were initially resistant were encouraged by the others and finished their drawing. The next day the kids were drawing from Youtube tutorials again, and the day after that, they were looking at tutorials on paper crafts and sewing, all without any prompting from me.
I was happy to see that their curiosity had been rewarded and that they were encouraged to explore their interests further. Their success with one tutorial made them want to try another and another. I hope that after being exposed to this resource the kids will continue to access it on their own, and have the confidence to follow their own intellectual and creative pursuits, without any assistance from me.