Left Behind: Makerspace Surprises


The makerspace at Islip High School Library is an active part of our school. Students drop by during their lunch periods throughout the day to tinker and explore the many resources. I like this open format, though I do have scheduled classes come in too. The openness not only reflects the students’ ability to use the space but also their wishes and desires to discover activities and projects of interest to them. That’s the best part, I think. The freedom to learn on demand.

My husband tells me I don’t like surprises. I guess that’s true. With four kids and two dogs what working mom likes surprises? Well, maybe if I arrived to a clean home with dinner prepared…Not. Most of my gifts are chosen from my wish list or outright selected by me in the store and handed over for giftwrapping and later ‘surprise’ presentation. Yes, I’m that predictable.

I’m going to focus and stay positive as there were a few negative surprises this year. Most notably when we moved the bolted bookshelves of twenty years during construction work. Yuck. Though this shouldn’t have been a surprise really, I have had a refrigerator moved once or twice.

schmutz during construction

There were two surprises this year that really got me. The first surprise was when I entered the library after returning from lunch to spot a mass of color left behind on the one of the tables in the makerspace. Walking over I was a little annoyed that someone left a mess and expected me to clean up. The closer I got I realized I was in for a pleasant surprise. Someone left behind a rainbow of origami cranes. Wow. Thank you.

My next surprise, and perhaps my favorite, was spotting a hidden message on recycled newspaper after a maker activity with a group of students. We use the previous week’s WSJ, NYTimes and USAToday to cover our library tables and protect them from paint and hot glue. This day, mixed in with the remnants of hot glue droppings, the following message was left behind, “I ‘heart’ school”. Awesome. It was literally in the garbage before I realized what I had. Quickly salvaged the newspaper now hangs in my office.

I heart school

I love our library makerspace and maybe I like surprises, too*. There I said it.


*I’m still keeping my wish list current at the local jewelry store!

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