The blog isn’t really renamed the therapist’s couch. Maybe it should be though. These personal web spaces are not so much about library/school-related issues and successes as they are about my feeling insecure or unsettled about this or that. I guess it’s all connected at the end of the day.
The spring semester started January 8th, and I kind-of-sort-of invited myself to sit in on the Physics 2: Electronics class. In all fairness, I was talking to the physics teacher back in the fall about soldering or something, and he said I should sit in on the class–that it’s a work-at-your-own pace/independent project class. I said, “OK!”
And here I am. Spending my very small amount of free time trying to learn physics. I’m still trying to solve complex circuits from last week.
This would probably all make a little more sense if I had taken physics at some point–any point–in my life.
I’m frustrated, and I’m very much reminded of my math/science experiences in high school/college.
I’d like to give up, and I would if this idea of making–more specifically making IN THE LIBRARY, A COMMUNAL SPACE–wasn’t so unbelievably spot on. I don’t want to be an armchair maker. I don’t want to be just a cheerleader for making. I don’t want to research the whole DIY/Maker movement and just write about how it needs to happen in schools. I want to know how to do. And yeah, making is more than just soldering and programming and cool tech projects. It’s filmmaking and writing and photography and all of that stuff too. The differences are: (1) I can at least fumble my way through the latter and (2) I know the campus experts who can help out with a film project or a photography question.
I at least know something about filmmaking, and literature, and photography to be a legitimate part of those communities.
A pile of resistors, capacitors, and wires…. well, that’s slightly paralyzing.
Why has learning the tech end of Making become a personal crusade?
Because if these videos doesn’t move you, you have lost your soul:
But just plugging things in based on a set of instructions isn’t enough. I want to know how it works.
What does this have to do with the library?
There’s a sixth grade girl who visits the library several times a week to say hi, to find a book, to, on occasion, show off the latest invention she made with a lamp from Family Dollar, electrical tape, and other odds and ends. Last week she came in and said she was suffering from “inventor’s block.” She didn’t know what to make. She had reached the limits of what she knew about electronics.
I had nothing to offer except, “I know how you feel” and my Radio Shack Electronics Learning Lab.
Librarians know things, and we’re pretty good about shepherding people to the right books, databases, web sites, or human beings. I’m going to talk with the student’s advisor about finding her an electronics mentor. Maybe even one of the students in Physics 2 would be willing to help.
Exploration of interests need to happen in the open. I can’t think of a more open space than the library. If you put a 3D printer in the science department it becomes a science thing. If you put a large format printer in the art department it becomes an art thing. If you put these tools in a community space, they belong to the community. The community see what’s being made. They become inspired. They start to make too.
<hippiespeak> And that’s effing beautiful. </hippiespeak>