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JCSU library wins $100k grant to fund makerspace

On June 11, 2018, the James B. Duke Memorial Library at Johnson C. Smith University was awarded a $100,000 grant to be used for a project called “Making Space for Tech @ An HBCU.” The grant will fund the development of an academic Makerspace that will give all users the opportunity to gain proficiency in design and manufacturing technologies, which are becoming more prevalent in the workforce.

“This resource will allow Johnson C. Smith students to gain a competitive edge when entering the job market,” said Dr. Chantell McDowell, Makerspace project manager and instructional technology coordinator at JCSU’s Duke Memorial Library. “The Makerspace will also provide an arena for research and innovation, which we believe will lead to an increase in faculty and student-based research campus-wide, and more effective research.”

Simply put, the Makerspace is a place where students, faculty, staff and the community can come and make things. It’s a place to learn technological skills as well as a hands-on collaborative space where people can come together and trade knowledge in order to build something concrete. It’s access not only to 21st century tools, but to a community of makers and resources necessary for success.

JCSU is collaborating with Discovery Place Education Studio to build curriculum with faculty and staff around making, and will use the grant to pay for more 3D printers, a vinyl cutter, sewing machines, a vacuum former (which creates molds), and digital fabrication and coding classes. Workshops for community makers, educators and students will also be provided.

“This is a movement beyond the university ecosystem,” McDowell said. “It is a drive to support entrepreneurship and innovation, and invites community makers into the university space to empower new waves of leaders in liberal arts, business, the sciences and technology.”

This program was supported by grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (IMLS grant number LS-00-17-0034-17). These federal funds are investments that help libraries deliver relevant and up-to-date services for their communities.

The James B. Duke Memorial Library received one of the 39 competitive grants for fiscal year 2017-2018 awarded to North Carolina libraries from this year’s federal allotment of $4,428,172. The LSTA grant program administered by the State Library of North Carolina funds library projects across the state that advance literacy and lifelong learning, expand access to library resources and expertise, promote partnerships and collaboration, and digitize materials important to the cultural heritage of North Carolina.

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