participants: Leila Duncan (Pima County Public Library in Tucson, AZ), Salvador Avilla (Clark County-Las Vegas Public Library), Matthew Baker (Science Museum of Virginia), AJ Almaguer (Lawrence Hall of Science), Sari Widman (Free Library of Philadelphia), Jamos McGhie (St. Paul Public Library, Minnesota), K-Fai Steele (National Writing Project)


  • words of wisdom from lawrence hall: go for “good bad” over “bad bad” in terms of buying and using tools. Is the tool that you’re going to buy be hard for staff and youth to figure out how to use? That’s a “bad bad.” Will the tool present design challenges that really get your participant to problem solve and think critically without the tool getting in the way? That’s a “good bad.”

  • if you’re going to buy Little Bits, buy the larger sets. $1,100 workshop kit/pro library

  • hummingbird robotics kit is good - 2.0 version? particularly with the scratch plugin.

  • tablets: Sci Museum of Va uses them to operate their quadcopters, green screen, stop=motion.

  • laptops: get them over desktops. Don’t buy the cheap ones, go for laptops in the $800 range

    • resources to reformat older laptops to get extra life out of them?

    • resources on adding ram to older laptops?

    • macbooks tend to get more use in some sites, pcs in others

  • people seem to like the silhouette cameo vinyl cutter (stickers and iron-on)

  • GoPros over DSLRs (easier to use, less expensive)

  • recycled materials whenever possible

  • laser cutters: ventilation is an issue. One solution is to partner with an org nearby that has one? Also there are some unexpected costs (replacing parts, other maintenance)

  • Mackie speakers + setup in Lawrence Hall?

  • 3d printers: what kinds do you have? pros: they’re a great hook for kids. cons: don’t get much use ultimately (the “keychain” effect where people just make keychains)

We have begun to develop a comprehensive list of recommended tools, materials, and web resources on this google doc. Please add the items that you love and use regularly at your site in this doc.