Take up of Toy Hacking and the “Making Makers” Curriculum

Eila McLeish, the Children’s & Youth Services Librarian at Georgina Public Libraries recently connected with Hive Toronto to share her experiences with the Making Makers Collaborative Community Project from 2013. Making Makers involved collaboration by Kids Learning Code, Maker Kids, TIFF and the Toronto Public Library and was funded with support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Mozilla Foundation. Eila shared with Hive Toronto her experiences to implement the open curriculum created through this project.

We’re excited to share with you Elia’s first-hand account of being involved in a Hive Toronto Collaborative Community Project!




Eila’s Experience with the Making Makers project:

Working at a mid-sized rural-urban library system like Georgina Public Libraries offers unique programming opportunities. Because our managing team is relatively small, ideas can be realized quickly. This is a wonderful advantage when you want to inject fresh programming ideas. At this year’s Ontario Library Association (OLA) Super Conference my goal was to attend sessions that would give me these type of ideas. I was looking for inspiration on how to facilitate on-trend programming that the community would be excited about. One such session was given by Maker Kids. They spoke about a variety of Maker programming that could easily be adapted to a library environment. I was sold on the idea, and wanted to hear more!

Making Makers collabortors image

I was excited to learn that there were going to be a series of free workshops called “Making Makers” in Toronto over the course of several weeks. The workshops were a chance for me to learn how to facilitate children’s programs about Coding, Game Design, Toy Hacking, and Stop Motion Animation, among others. Most of these workshops translated easily into inexpensive library programs that would be well-suited to our community. I eagerly attended all of the Making Makers sessions and was impressed by all the wonderful information shared.

Toy hacking promotion Georgina

The next step was to take this information and turn it into great programming at our library. The first program we decided to run was Toy Hacking. I was impressed with how easy Toy Hacking was to put together, and delighted with how well our community responded to it! We had over 60 participants at three different Toy Hack programs in two of our branches. Our teens especially responded to the program. They helped the kids with their toy hacking and had so much fun that they demanded their own program! We happily obliged of course and many wondrous creations came out of it. Since running the program we have had many parents ask when we will be running it again. Because of its popularity we have decided to run three more toy hacks to kick off our summer reading club. Hopefully this will mean more registrations for the summer reading club along with all the toy hacking fun!

Down the road I am hoping to make use of what I learned about stop motion animation as well as 3D printing…once we get our first 3D printer that is! The information I learned at the Making Makers sessions was truly instrumental in helping get the maker movement started at Georgina Public Library.