CFP: Re-making the Library Makerspace:
Critical Theories, Reflections, and Practices

Editors: Maggie Melo and Jennifer Nichols
Publisher: Library Juice Press
Deadline for Proposals: November 30, 2018

Book Description
The Maker Movement is a social phenomenon that has generated excitement around tech-centric making and learning throughout the world since the mid-2000s. Hailing from Silicon Valley, the Maker Movement has inspired hundreds of libraries across the US to integrate makerspaces into their own ecosystems to further support users’ learning and discovery. While the affordances of the Maker Movement have been highlighted extensively over the past decade, the limitations and drawbacks of this movement have been largely overshadowed. The Maker Movement has popularized a narrow, classist, predominantly white, and heteronormative conceptualization of maker culture. Makerspaces, like libraries, are not neutral, but rather are imbued with ideologies stemming from Silicon Valley that consequently dictate who makes, why making occurs, and what is considered making. This edited collection centers the limitations and challenges emerging from this particular brand of ‘maker culture,’ and emphasizes the critical work that is being done to cultivate anti-oppressive, inclusive and equitable making environments.

There is a gap in the current literature on makerspaces. Many authors focus on how to start a makerspace and/or the benefits of integrating one within a library. Alternatively, this edited collection captures how librarians and educators have disrupted and re-made their makerspaces in response to the constraints of the Maker Movement’s ‘makerspace.’ This collection offers readers a critical examination of library makerspaces at the site of praxis: theory, reflection, and action. Particularly, critical considerations around race, age, class, gender, sexuality, power, and ability will be centered in this volume. As such, the intended audience for this body of work are librarians, educators, administrators, and library professionals who work with(in) or are interested in library makerspaces.

Possible topics and questions for chapters include, but are not limited to:

  • Disrupting the Maker Movement’s ‘makerspace’
    • Feminist makerspaces and feminist approaches to making
    • Queering the makerspace
    • Intersectional approaches to running/designing a makerspace: race, age, ability, gender, class, sexuality
    • Inclusive and anti-oppressive programming and events
    • Inclusive and equitable practices: staff hiring, training and development
    • Managing expectations of makerspaces with user needs, university expectations, donors, etc.
    • Makerspace design and organization including layout, signage, furniture, colors, etc. within the space
    • Documentation: user agreements, liability forms, acceptable use policies, code of conduct, mission and vision statements
  • Issues, challenges, and ethical considerations in library makerspaces
    • Limitations of the Maker Movement’s conceptualization of what making is, who makers are, and why people make
    • Underrepresentation of genders, classes, races, ages, and abilities in the makerspace
    • Virtual Reality technologies and the issue of virtual harassment
    • 3D printing
      • Trademark and copyright infringement, product liability
      • The printing of weapons, sex toys, etc.
      • Environmental concerns with 3D printing
    • The implications of technological obsolescence
    • Navigating “male-assumed” technical expertise in the makerspace
  • Establishing technical competence: “prove-it again bias” and gender
  • Funding makerspaces
  • Patron privacy
  • Developing staff technical and leadership competencies
  • Assessment
  • Environmental implications
  • Navigating the politics of re-allocating library space for makerspaces
  • To what extent do the technologies within a makerspace signal who belongs in the space and who doesn’t?
  • What role does innovation and entrepreneurship play in the makerspace?
  • Who owns the makerspace? What are the challenges/affordances of having multiple key stakeholders and partners?


  • CFP distributed: September 2018
  • Chapter proposals deadline: November 30, 2018
  • Notification of accepted proposals: January 15, 2019
  • Manuscript deadlines will be staggered and agreed upon between the editors and authors with a final deadline of May 30, 2019
  • Revisions are sent to authors: August 31, 2019
  • Final drafts deadline: October 15, 2019
  • Manuscript submission: November 15, 2019


Please email abstracts of up to 500 words to libmakerspaces (at) gmail (dot) com. Abstracts should briefly describe your topic and how your chapter examines, theorizes, reflects, and/or narrates the critical work of re-making a makerspace. You are welcome to submit multiple abstracts about different possible topics. If your submission is tentatively accepted, the editors may request revisions. Material cannot be previously published.

Final chapters will be in the 3000-5000-word range. Abstracts that discuss the re-making of makerspaces in tribal college libraries, HBCUs, Hispanic-serving institutions, community colleges, archives, special libraries, and libraries outside the United States are especially welcome.

We welcome proposals from librarians, scholars, educators, activists, and library professionals who are performing and/or examining the disruptive re-making of makerspaces. We are eager to review submissions from authors across all organizational and institutional contexts: academic libraries, public libraries, special libraries, community organizations and programs, and more.

Please direct any questions to Maggie Melo and Jennifer Nichols, editors, at melo1 (at) ad (dot) unc (dot) edu and/or jtn (at) email (dot) arizona (dot) edu.

About the Authors

Maggie Melo
Maggie Melo is an assistant professor in the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She recently completed her PhD at the University of Arizona, where she was an American Association of University Women Fellow. Her work has appeared in portal: Libraries and the Academy, Hybrid Pedagogy, and Computers and Composition Online. She co-founded the University of Arizona’s first publicly accessible and interdisciplinary makerspace – iSpace – and strategically facilitated its growth from a 400-square-foot room in the Science-Engineering Library to a 5,000-square-foot facility soon to be housed in the University’s Main Library. She also founded the Women Techmakers Tucson Hackathon, the Southwest’s first women’s-only hackathon.

Jennifer Nichols
Jennifer Nichols is the Digital Scholarship Librarian at the University of Arizona, and a program lead for the iSpace, the first publicly accessible and interdisciplinary makerspace at the University. She grew the programming and operations of the nascent iSpace beginning in 2015 as a Fine Arts and Humanities liaison, and continues to expand partnerships and programming between campus and community entities. Her current research centers around designing for equity and inclusion in digital spaces, library services, and makerspaces. Prior to her career as an academic librarian, Nichols was a Young Adult librarian with Pima County Public Library for nearly 8 years. In this capacity she created digital media and maker technology workshop series for teens, and coordinated and led an IMLS/MacArthur funded YouMedia Learning Labs planning grant to create and employ a Youth Design Team of 15 members ages 14-21 to plan the 101 space at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library.