Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace

by Colleen Graves, Aaron Graves, and Diana L. Rendina


Want to learn how to take your makerspace to "the next level"? This book guides you along the journey of designing challenges for student learning and more.

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Cover image for Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace

July 2017

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 136
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Children's and Young Adult Programs
  Librarian's Instructional Role
  • Award Winner!




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An invaluable how-to text that details the workshop model, addresses the design challenges, and explains the best avenues for curriculum-based learning in the school library makerspace.

A successful school makerspace needs an enthusiastic maker community, school-wide participation, and staff support. How do you build this type of learning at your school? The innovative team behind Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace addresses common questions and concerns and describes step-by-step how to introduce challenge-based learning into the school library makerspace.

Intended for librarians and school staff who have already started thinking in terms of makerspaces but need further help sustaining programming and want to know more about Makerspace 2.0, this helpful guide details the workshop model, various real-world design challenges, and the process for implementing curriculum-based learning in the school library makerspace. Readers will be empowered to go beyond the initial implementation of a makerspace and to draw from an arsenal of proven methodologies for designing challenges for student learning. Additionally, the book enables the addition of curriculum connections to library programming, shows how to connect your students to local experts and the global maker community, and eases you into more productive collaboration with other librarians.


  • Explores crowdsourced research methods that lead to authentic participatory learning
  • Ensures that student-led workshops and design challenges result in tremendous success
  • Supplies practical tips that can be applied by beginner maker-librarians and provides curricula suggestions for advanced maker-librarians
  • Explains how to incorporate design thinking, empathy building, and problem solving with design challenges that spur student creativity
Author Info

Colleen Graves is teacher librarian at Ryan High School in Denton, TX. She is passionate about makerspaces as well as books. Graves is a member of Google Geeks, an online community dedicated to collaboration and making Google services and applications available to everyone; a Google Certified Trainer; a 2016 Library Journal Mover and Shaker; and cofinalist for School Library Journal's School Librarian of the Year in 2014. This is her second book written with her husband and fellow librarian, Aaron Graves. She actively documents her makerspace journey on her website,, as well as on her blog, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

Aaron Graves is a school librarian with 18 years of experience in education. Equal parts book lover, robot geek, and tech wizard, Graves gained his perseverance for maker projects through collaborative and interactive art experiences as a member of the Good/Bad Art Collective. He is an active speaker and presenter on libraries, makerspaces, and research skills and spends his free time writing, restoring microcars, and inventing things makes people smile.

Diana L. Rendina, MLIS, is media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School in Tampa, FL. She is the creator of the blog and is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Rendina participates actively in the International Society for Technology in Education Librarians Network, the American Association of School Librarians, and the Florida Association for Media in Education. She served on the Sunshine State Young Readers Award Committee from 2012 to 2015. She is the winner of the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award for emerging leaders and the 2015 School Library Journal Build Something Bold Award. She has presented on the Maker Movement at state, national, and international conferences, including AASL, FETC, and ISTE. Diana shares resources regularly on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram @DianaLRendina.



"Readers will find this to be a practical and can-do accessible guide."Booklist Online

"This book is a must-have for librarians who want to build a makerspace from scratch or improve an existing one. . . . Highly recommended."School Library Connection

"This book . . . includes a concise yet comprehensive overview of makerspaces, as well as practical advice about what it takes to develop a maker mindset and maintain a vibrant schoolwide makerspace. . . . Highly recommended."ARBAonline


Honorable Mention, Best Professional Resource for School or Youth Librarians — SLC/ARBA

In the News

eSchool News, 5 tips for better makerspaces, 10/10/2017

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