About the Studio

About the Studio

Hastings Memorial Library is collaborating with the Library Innovation Studios: Transforming Rural Communities project to host a rotating Makerspace in the library. This learning environment will provide the opportunity for adults and young people to access technology and stimulate creativity, innovation, and the exchange of ideas to facilitate entrepreneurship, skill development, and local economic development.
The library is partnering with the Nebraska Library Commission, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska Innovation Studio, Nebraska Extension, and Regional Library Systems to help enable collaborative community development efforts that bring together local libraries, extension educators, 4-H youth development specialists, business leaders, development professionals and volunteers, community organizations, educators, and other community stakeholders to take charge of the community they want to build—and to experiment with using a library Makerspace to help build it.

A National Leadership Grant of $715,732 awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to the Nebraska Library Commission supports this partnership effort.  The project began July 1, 2017 and will conclude June 30, 2021.

The multi-faceted project will:
  • Establish local Community Action Teams in forty rural and small communities;
  • Purchase equipment and related materials for four rotating Innovation Studios that will be hosted by libraries for approximately 20 weeks each;
  • Develop instructional materials and user equipment certification processes;
  • Employ sustainability strategies for permanent studios;
  • Provide training on the use of the equipment, focusing on Train-the-Trainer strategies;
  • Assist with local marketing efforts and programming/events, including open houses and maker showcases; and
  • Host annual makers’ showcases in Lincoln or Grand Island.

These three goals guide the project:

  • Rural community residents will be empowered with the tools and guidance to explore, collaborate, create, learn, and invent;
  • Libraries will transform their rural communities through participatory learning spaces, while establishing themselves as strong community catalysts for community change; and
  • Libraries (and communities) nationwide will have access to a replicable model.

Hastings Memorial Library will host the studio until April when the equipment will rotate to another Nebraska Library.