Sharing Making - Salmon Public Library

Sharing Making - Salmon Public Library

Thank you, Jeff Stratter, Salmon Public Library, for participating! This is a series of posts organized by the Idaho Library Association Maker Committee that will share stories of making across the state. Learn what other libraries are offering, how they got their start, and other tips and tricks! Want to share your own story of making? Awesome! Here’s a Q&A form to get the conversation started.

How long has your library been offering making opportunities?
1.5 years

Does your library provide informal opportunities that involve making? If so, how often, and what do they look like?We have a Maker-Table in which we often put up passive challenges for those who walk by. They can range from Lo-tech to Hi-Tech. Some Lo-Tech would be Paper Airplane making, gathering objects from a prescribed area on the floor and having to make a rake to gather them. We had Marble Mazes, Holiday oriented challenges, and more. Hi Tech have involved Makey Makey's operation game, Little Bits wireless door bells, and wind powered energy windmill builds. We also have a LEGO wall we've added to our children's section which is a big hit and great way for the pre-K children to interact and "make".

Does your library provide formal opportunities that involve making? If so, how often, and what do they look like?
We run a STEM program on Friday's. Our school is a four day school week which opens up different non-traditional forms of education to take place. We have a fantastic High School volunteer who wandered in one day looking to help. Since then he's been presenting LEGO LEAGUE robotics, model rockets, circuit building, drones, and more. Beyond that we do have the occasional Fun With Math & Science Family night as well as other formal programming scheduled throughout the year. National Maker week, Teen Tech Week, Summer of Code, have all been programs we've done making for.

Circuits.jpg  MakeyMakey.jpg


How did your "space" start?
Through the Make-It Program at IFCL. We received kits that were STEM oriented required through the MOU to put programs together. This was a huge leap forward for Salmon Public Library and ushered in the Make-It era. From there we've been looking for ways to expand, improve, and offer more Making at our library.

Who participates in making at your library?
Right now we've mainly been attracting the 8-13 year old's. I'm still working on trying to lure in the older kids and young adults to our making programs which takes time and direct contact, but I feel with the addition of the Studio space we've created, it's already starting to do that.

How do you market your making opportunities?
Wow! This is the million dollar question. Our small rural town is a difficult beast to understand when it comes to marketing. One everyone has an event always here and two the age ranges are so vast here, it's hard to focus on just "one" way to promote. Therefore we take a multi tiered approach. We'll post information on our website in Blog format. We'll share information on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. We've also usually make fliers and post them around town, advertise in the local newspaper, sometimes go on the radio to promote! We also have in library giveaways such as bookmarks with info on it as well as in library signage that better informs the patron. Even after all that we often only get a small turnout, so promotion can be frustrating at times.

How do you fund them?
This can range from grant money to reaching into our personal pockets. It can also be repurposing old items for reuse or whatever we have on hand from say funding of last year's summer reading program. Nothing goes to waste as a maker because there is always a project that can be done with it. We've also funded things by including community partners that bring in their own equipment which is helpful at times.

What’s one (or two) maker related website(s) you find useful or inspiring?
Colleen Grave’s site,

Do you have a program idea you’d be willing to share? Links to resources?
STEM Action Center for resources / funding opportunities.

What sorts of tools and supplies do you have for making? 

Which of those are the 3 most popular?

What’s one thing you’ve learned in getting a makerspace up and going?
I'm thinking a question should have been one thing "I've learned". One thing I've learned is set expectations low. Just because you've put your heart and soul into creating the perfect Maker project, did absolutely everything you could think of to showcase it, market it, tell everyone you know about it, Nobody might show up. Don't be discouraged by turnout. This isn't a sprint, but a marathon. What Making is doing is changing culture and mindset. When you do that it requires patience, passion, and persistence. If you have this mindset you wont' be disappointed and give up trying to incorporate Making into your library. Know your end goal and readjust your approach and try again. It's the "making" of "making"!

Thank you Jeff!

ILA Maker Committee Co-chair, Deana

Have questions or comments for Jeff? Comment on this post, and/or reach him directly at You can also help Salmon Public Library build a community makerspace by donating to their cause! 


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  • Sue Walker
    commented 2017-06-22 15:24:03 -0600
    Thanks for sharing Jeff. You articulated the maker vision well.