Welcome to the PLIX Discussion Forum

Welcome to the PLIX Discussion Forum! The Public Library Innovation Exchange (a.k.a PLIX) develops STEAM learning experiences based on MIT Media Lab research and designed for the public library setting. This site is the home of our PLIX community of practice, where library professionals can come together to share experiences with PLIX activities, ask and answer questions, and reflect on their facilitation practice.

If you’re new here, take a minute to say hello in the thread below! After reading through who’s here, introduce yourself by clicking the “Reply” button.

We’d love to get to know you a bit more – here are some things you could share:

  • What library do you work at?
  • What motivated you to join this community?
  • What is a dream you have for the future of libraries?
  • What is something you created recently?

We’re excited to have you join us! :robot::rocket::dancer::microscope::crystal_ball::earth_americas::seedling: :sunglasses:

Perhaps you’ve already introduced yourself in our original Welcome thread. Every once in a while we refresh the introduction thread to give newcomers a chance to hear where more seasoned members of the community are these days. :slight_smile:

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Hello! My name is Michelle and I am the learning designer for the PLIX team at MIT, but I once worked at the Fountain Valley Public Library in California. I work remotely, so you can find me near the Claremont branch of the Berkeley Public Library.

I was motivated to join PLIX because of its focus on creating a community of learners among practitioners who care about the kinds of projects I’ve promoted throughout my career, which spans the maker movement, quirky classroom lessons, clubs/networks for youth and adults, and learning through visual narratives (which is why I particularly love our zines!)

A dream I have for the future of libraries is to make them ever more welcoming to the whole community, providing fine-free checkouts as my local system does, and many physical tools to check out (we’re lucky that both BPL and Oakland PL have tool libraries, and BPL just introduced culinary tools)

I recently created some zine-ish pages as part of The Believer magazine’s Friday Night Comics online series — they ran them as a pandemic-coping strategy. We had only a few minutes to draw! I think the theme here was Comics of Place.

I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s introductions. Fee free to update yours for our new prompt too!


Hello everyone!
My name is Michelle. I work for the Springfield-Greene County Library District in Missouri. I am an Youth Services Associate.
I joined the PLIX community because of my love of S.T.E.A.M. PLIX allows me to add more elements into my programming. PLIX also gives me access to great minds across the country.
Most importantly, the nerd in me is super excited to say that I get to work with people from M.I.T. I can’t think of a better merge of great science/math minds and librarians! M.I.T. + Librarians means unstoppable fun.


I’m a library assistant at the Cora J. Belden Library in Rocky Hill, CT, and an AMI Montessori-trained teacher that recently began my journey towards my MLIS online.

I learned about PLIX through my director. The idea of this community is amazing to me! We get to play while we learn and share! That’s invigorating! Play, learn, share, create, inspire, get inspired, and grow?! What more motivation is needed?! We could add karaoke though…just saying.

One of the dreams I have for the future of libraries is that somehow (I don’t know how yet), libraries in the forefront of everyone’s mind. That we are not just thought of at specific periods of someone’s life. It’s beautiful that parents bring their infants and children to the library and that the trend continues at least until elementary and sometimes high school. Still, we sometimes don’t see those same children again until they have children of their own. I don’t want that gap. We have to offer them a combination of things, feelings, opportunities, and experiences that they would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Given the fact that, for the most part, public library activities are free, we are in an ideal position for this. Let’s learn what we need to learn, share what needs be shared, do what must be done to get there, and have fun all the while!

I recently created my version of a logo for this past summer’s reading program, Tales and Tails (see inspiration pic). The piece so far is about 5’x8’, mostly fabric on a felt background. I say so far because it will evolve, as I do have plans to add to it, as it sees fit! My artwork does tend to talk to me and tells me what it wants or needs next. For instance, with this piece, everything was going smoothly…and then the tiger whispered he wanted a wink. Well, as you can imagine, that little wink opened the flood gates. Then came their requests for punk fur, constellation stripes, gold-swirled tusks, and a zebra and butterfly absolutely infatuated with each other. I wanted the piece to have texture that you wouldn’t really see until you came up close to it, so it would invite the viewer to come close, explore and discover.


Thanks for sharing your creations. I agree that there is a huge gap in our library user’s ages.


Hello Everyone!

My name is Lisa Lewis and I am the Library Services Manager for Show Low Public Library in Northern Arizona where we do indeed get snow!

I am excited to be a part of this community because STEAM is where it’s at! We have offered a variety of STEAM programs to our community and are looking forward to the collobaration and new ideas that we can pass along.

The dream I have for the future of libraries is to continue to remove barriers for use and to provide educational experiences that go beyond books! Our goal is to make our library the center of the community where all are welcome and everyone goes away learning something new!

One thing we recently added to our library that I feel is very creative is our Recording Studio! This was purchased with grant funding from RAIN (Rural Activation and Innovation Network). They fund STEM projects. Music is a big part of STEM and so is creativity that goesl along with music. We are the first library in Arizona to have a Recording Studio inside the library. This space is used often by our community including our oldest patron who is 78 and records music for her family.


Hi, friends! I’m Rebecca, and I’m the Children’s Librarian at the Oconee County Library, just outside of Athens, Georgia.

I joined this community to learn more, share what I know and and have learned, and get new ideas for programming! Children’s programming is my passion, and I love supporting learning in our community through free STEAM programs in the library. I also have an avid interest in vintage clothing, cats, puppetry, outer space, and frogs. I love to be silly as often as possible, and if I can get away with wearing a weird costume at work for any occasion, I am going to do it.

My library dream is for everyone to know all of the amazing stuff they can get at the library for free, and that we go fine-free in my state! And, to be fully staffed and fully funded, ha.

I’ve been sewing and dyeing a lot of silk lately; I have several friends with new kiddos, so I have been making them cute clothes and playsilks. I have also written a couple of songs this week; one is about tacos, and the other is about fruit. I may be hungry.

Happy to “see” you! :frog:


Hi Everyone,

My name is Mary and I’m the Director of the Middletown Free Library in Media, PA, just south of Philadelphia.

I’m really excited to be part of the PLIX community because I believe that public libraries are the prefect place to foster creative learning as we don’t have a curriculum to follow, grades to give out or anyone looking over our shoulder to make sure we’re teaching to a test. We welcome everyone and can often reach those that fall through the cracks in a traditional school setting. I am really looking forward to sharing ideas and learning from everyone here.

The dream I have for the future of libraries is to be the center of the community, where people come to create, share ideas and where there’s always something new to discover! I think working to make sure libraries are adequately funded so that we can offer learning opportunities to everyone free of charge is really important.

We just opened our new library facility next week and I am really excited to finally have a dedicated makerspace and look forward to the addition of the recording studio sometime over the next 4-6 months. I can’ believe how much storage space we have and am particularly excited that everything is finally in one place. My office floor & shelves are no longer extra storage space. Can’t wait to hold our first programs in the space soon!!


Hello Everyone!

My name is Renaté and I live in the Metro Atlanta area. I’ve worked for the Cobb County Public Library for five years and my position as Accessibility Services Supervisor allows me the opportunity to serve patrons living with disabilities/special needs. I love that I am able to express myself creatively through programs while serving my community.

I was motivated to join this community in order to provide fun, creative and quality programs for a group that is traditionally underserved. In the past I’ve done STEM/STEAM projects with adults and youth with disabilities but I would like to gain a better understanding of how to facilitate using creative learning. I am here to learn! I’m excited to meet, collaborate and learn with you all!

One of the dreams that I have for the future of libraries is that it will be and feel like a community safe space. I envision a library that encourages discourse, learning, creativity and connection. I envision the library as being the first resource for practically every need.

I recently created kits that patrons can use while in the library. I was inspired while listening to an ALA presentation about serving patrons with Autism. The Calm Kits have noise cancelling headphones, fidget toys, stress balls and QR codes for short YouTube guided meditations. I’m hoping to get funding to add Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) lamps that can be used in study rooms, because “Winter is coming”.


I love what you said about not teaching to a test! It removes so much anxiety and pressure for both library staff and patrons. Also, congratulations on your beautiful new space!

Very beautiful work! I can’t wait to see how it continues to evolve :smile:

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Hi everyone! My Name is Alan and I’m a librarian in Salt Lake City! I work in our makerspace, the Creative Lab. I like to tinker and learn new things, I’m just always experimenting and exploring.

I learned about PLIX through my supervisor and immediately jumped at the chance to join, because I love facilitating creative learning! I think that the future of libraries involves creative use of our space in our communities. Personally I would like to pair that with creative learning and the use of our makerspace to have a mini-maker faire.

One thing that I have made is a miniature loom to give out to patrons.


Hey! My name is Cora and I am the director of the Leelanau Township Library in Northport, Michigan. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up but I have worked in school and public libraries for the last 15 years.
I knew that I wanted to be a part of PLIX once I discovered the amazing resources that are available to assist libraries. Tools such as those provided by PLIX are so very important to small and rural libraries that may not necessarily have the skill, knowledge, and staff required to create STEAM progr programming. PLIX allows those of us that are small to offer big, amazing learning opportunities to our communities.
I so look forward to learning more and sharing these amazing resources with my fellow librarians.


Hello All,

My name is Keisha and I am a Youth Services Librarian at the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library in Cleveland, TN. I’m here to learn and share, to grow and to inspire. I know we are in a weird time but I think Ideas and activities that stimulate creative thinking and give hands things to do will be solace to the the minds of the little friends of our communities, well, I think the adults will benefit as well.

I dream big. We are working on a space that can house the craft supplies, snap circuits, broken sewing machines, functioning sewing machines, 3D printers and the like. We are also fundraising, aka “begging”(not too proud) for space to ‘do’ stuff. In the meantime, we have come up with fun ways to engage through take-home packs, outdoor programs and virtual connections. I love learning new things and sharing those things with others. I’m a bit excited to get started


Hi Everyone,
I’m Hope Decker from the Wayland Free Library in upstate NY.

I hardly know where to begin, I love libraries and the way they can foster the good life in their communities. I want to see communities and the humans who live in them, flourish! I also love the maker movement for two reasons. One is how creating something encourages risk-taking. Being creative, making something new, is a risk. The more people take risks and realize it’s OK to take a risk, the more willing they are to try something else new, the more willing they are to see a new solution to a problem, the more open they become, and I think they become more resilient.

The other way making and creating builds flourishing communities is the beautiful way people can connect to one another while making something. It reminds me of the women who would gather to chat at a quilting bee. As their hands are busy, their hearts open up. Social connections build resiliency too. I’ve seen it happen in library programs, I’ve described it as “magic” but really there is a lot of reflective and intentional work that goes into building that kind of atmosphere in a program.

My dream for communities is that they would be full of people who feel known and connected to each other, who feel safe enough to take risks and make new things, and who are resilient when things are tough. My dream is that communities would flourish and that libraries would understand their power to foster this!

I am learning to knit, this my first attempt. A group of women gather at the library to do handiwork once a week. They welcomed me right in and are beyond patient in their knitting instruction.


I’d love to see a photo of the loom you give out to patrons

Hi Hope!

Here you go! We laser cut these looms ourselves!


Hi, my name is Mary Jo and I am the Director of a small, rural library in Lake Andes, SD. I became part of the PLIX team by answering an email, which peaked my interest. I try to find new learning activities for the library.
My breakfast go to is a breakfast sandwich and a cup of coffee.


Thanks! Can’t wait to have our first program in the space!!

I used to live in Marietta and still cheer for the Braves. I love the idea of the Calm Kits and SAD lamps for study rooms.

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