Measuring Makerspaces

White Paper: Makerspaces Impact and Value White Paper

Citation: Knox, E., Koh, K., & Zalot, A. (2022). Measuring the Impact and Value of Makerspaces in Public Libraries [White paper]. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Information Sciences.

Makerspaces, maker labs, and other inquiry-based community learning spaces can be found in public libraries across the country. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in professional and scholarly research on these spaces. For example, there are many practical guides to developing a makerspace in the library such as Makerspaces: A Practical Guide for Librarians (Burke & Kroski, 2018) and the Makerspace Librarian’s Sourcebook (Kroski, 2017). Since they are primarily conceived of as learning spaces, there are also several studies that assess individual skills that are developed in makerspaces (Finley, 2016; Willett, 2017).

This exploratory project provides the tools needed for the development of an initial framework and future toolkit for measuring the impact and value of public library makerspaces in the lives of users and the communities that libraries serve. For the purposes of this framework, impact refers to the effect on the lives of stakeholders. Value centers on how makerspaces have helped libraries achieve excellence as organizations and partners for effective community development. 


This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit 

IMLS LG-256251-OLS-20