ARL SPEC survey aims to map current role of libraries in makerspaces

ARLlogoThe Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has selected a survey proposal from the MIT Libraries as one of four to be conducted in 2015. The survey, selected based on currency, insightfulness, importance to research libraries and relevance to ARL’s strategic directions, consists of a suite of questions intended to map out current and planned engagement of ARL-member Libraries with digital fabrication (“3-D printing”) and Makerspace technologies.

Such technologies produce intellectual assets, such as sensor and digitization data, as well as models and methods, that are of potential value to other researchers and which therefore may fall within the mission of research libraries. Moreover, these technologies offer the opportunity to create spaces that facilitate research, collaboration, information discovery and management, and a form of technical and information literacy.

The goal of the survey, which will be conducted between May 4 and June 1 of this year, is to provide information to decision-makers considering services in this rapidly evolving arena. A SPEC Kit is expected to be published in September, while a 45-minute webcast discussion of findings is expected to stream in October.

The survey was developed by Dr. Micah Altman, Director of Research and Head/Scientist, Program on Information Science for the MIT Libraries, Matt Bernhardt, web developer for the Libraries with expertise in the field, Lisa Horowitz, Assessment & Linguistics Librarian, and Wenqing Lu, a research intern for the Program on Information Science.

For more information, and to learn how to participate see ARL’s website.