Makerspace Pros, Cons & Considerations

In studying and evaluating a practice, it’s vital to examine all sides of it, considering both its pros and cons—even projecting its potential for flourishing or fading with time.  Just as a painter carefully studies a subject from all angles, featuring both light and shadow, so should we examine makerspaces with similar scrutiny. A balanced view of the makerspace practice within school libraries will provide realistic expectations for its results as well as a healthy anticipation of its downsides.  Since makerspaces require a significant investment of time, energy and resources, it’s essential to consider an objective view of their purpose, their promise and their pitfalls.

As Slatter and Howard (2013) report, much of the literature is largely supportive of the library makerspace movement and “although advantages outweigh disadvantages, there are still shortcomings to consider” (p. 274). Moorefield-Lang (2014) also argues that “the successes certainly outweigh the challenges” when it comes to library makerspaces (p. 586).  There is also the argument that makerspaces are not for every library and that they only appeal to a select audience (Slatter & Howard, 2013).  An informed decision about whether or not a makerspace fits within a library’s community, its mission and its goals, begins with an examination of its advantages and disadvantages.