Nancy Bailey reminds us of the importance of libraries. And she warns us of a dangerous trend to turn them into “makerspaces,” where children can play with technology.

I have seen schools with Makerspaces, and they are wonderful. But can’t schools find a room for them without taking away the library?

Bailey writes:

Libraries have always been places where students can work independently. But the Maker Movement appears to be about replacing school libraries and the role of librarians with digital learning.

There is a concerted effort to convert libraries to Makerspaces, Hackspaces, or Fab Labs. Why? Why can’t these places be set up in another room, or why can’t teachers include hands-on activities in their classes? Why can’t some part of the library be used for these activities without an overall library conversion to digital instruction?…

There might be benefit in children making things. Hands on activities have always been valued and help children better understand subjects. Teachers have always had students do class projects. But students still need access to books for reading and research. They also need qualified librarians to guide them.

We know that when schools have great libraries students do well. We have no idea whether Makerspaces alone improve a student’s understanding of subjects. Some see Makerspaces as a trend along with Common Core State Standards that will eventually end. When that happens, will there also be no more libraries?