Local community building events

I mentioned this in a PLIX meetup and meant to share sooner, I think this is the right place!

I organize an annual / bi-annual event at my library to connect makers and maker educators from NFPs, museums, and higher ed.

For the last eight years, we host a Maker Summit. We aim to hold two a year, but the last two years we’re at about one a year (pandemic).

In-person, we made an effort to host every other summit at other spaces to help our team get out to see other spaces, as well as encourage participants to see these spaces. These spaces are often the community makerspaces (501c3), art studios, and youth makerspaces.

Initially the event was not an event posted for the public, but we realized if someone was interested, they should get the info, so they are now posted on our website (exhibit a, b, c). The great thing is it’s very easy to share an event link!

My habit is to solicit speakers with updates, and the speakers are often from the local children’s museum, the early childhood education program at our city college system, and our science museum. I would love to get some plant and architecture people there eventually :smiley:

When the event takes place at a guest site, the host helps design an activity we can do. One year, we tinkered with cardboard, and I made something that resembled a toilet seat that I wore as a hat. This year, we planned for hybrid, but pivoted to online only day of. The plan was to use play/prototype materials to “change the tea experience” because it was both Library Shelfie Day and National Hot Tea Month. Since everyone was online, we created three Google Jam Boards so people could bring together ideas on the tea experience. The activity ran short because the presentations and Library Shelfie explanations took time I hadn’t planned for.

Afterwards, I was able to connect a few people who were newcomers to the summit. Like any event, I get a little worked up before it happens, get really into it WHEN it happens, and feel like the guests were amazing and blew my mind after it happens.

Usually I reach out to people personally to speak, but I keep in touch with about 100 people using TinyLetter. The library newsletter reaches much more people, but can’t get as niche as I can get with the TinyLetter.

Everyone does a lot of these actions regularly/nonstop (write, email, solicit, host), I shared this because it’s a fun way to draw out some of the other creativity-oriented people in our community, and can be a source of peer support and future guest presenters if budget allows!

Edited: Forgot to say that we: average 20-40 people at the events; try get snacks when we can.

1 Like