SLIS Alumnus Andrew Tadman Invited to White House for National Maker Faire
Andrew Tadman, an alumnus of the School of Library & Information Science (SLIS), was invited to the White House to partake in the National Week of Making for his work with the Baton Rouge Mini Maker Faire at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library (EBRPL).
Tadman is the reference and computer services coordinator at the main branch of the library and member of the Baton Rouge Maker Faire team. Maker faires are day-long events that encourage creative building of all sorts—assembling robots or remote-control vehicles, knitting clothes or quilts, sculpting or painting, and more.
President Barack Obama officially declared June 17-23, 2016 the National Week of Making, and invited representatives from each state to attend the National Maker Faire on Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19. The week of events included a panel discussion titled “Maker Faire Change Agents: Case Studies from Baton Rouge, Little Rock, Kingsport, and Milwaukee,” which discussed the maker culture and growth of the maker movement in various cities.
“Attending the National Week of Making was a fantastic experience,” Tadman said. “Most significantly, the recognition of maker culture by the White House and officials helped to emphasize the importance that making can have on education and skill building. It was a great opportunity to meet a diverse group from other states.”
Tadman now serves as a maker ambassador for Louisiana and is working with maker representatives from the White House to set up a state-wide conference call to get more maker organizations across Louisiana involved in the dialogue. One of the main reasons for the national maker meeting was to create an organized network for makers to share ideas and best practices.
The maker programming Tadman implements at the East Baton Rouge Parish libraries includes 3D design classes, soldering, robotics, Arduino electronic kits, 3D printing, online resources and more. When the downtown Baton Rouge library is remodeled, it will be the first in the state to have a dedicated MakerSpace, a community center with a variety of tools, equipment, materials and educational resources for making.
“Libraries have always been advocates for making even when it was just called crafts,” he said. “We put on a diverse range of maker programming at all library branches… As a public library, it is one of our missions to provide equal access to maker programming and maker equipment. Where you live or your income should not be a barrier to taking part.”
Tadman says the goal of EBRPL is to encourage the development of making and provide equal opportunities to those wishing to take part in making, whether in the form of classes, equipment, or meeting space. Earlier this year, in partnership with the Foundation for East Baton Rouge Parish School System and the school system itself, the library hosted a day of maker education for elementary school librarians. Tadman considers this another step toward a larger and more resound maker culture in Baton Rouge.
“Making brings together people with a common passion for creating, no matter what is actually made,” he said. “Making is community building.”
This year’s Baton Rouge Mini Maker Faire is October 8, 2016. The call for maker applications is open, and anyone interested in taking part can apply at makerfairebatonrouge.com.
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