Madison Community Foundation Funds Bubbler Expansion
Madison Public Library Foundation recently secured $55,000 from Madison Community Foundation to bring Madison Public Library’s popular Bubbler makerspace program to 13 community centers throughout the city.
Called Beyond the Bubbler, the effort will allow the library to guide community center staff in developing their own makerspace programs and kits while connecting them with local guest artists whocan lead workshops or residencies.
“We’re focused on building up the skills, knowledge and confidence of the center staff in order for them to come up with a mission or vision around each of their maker programs,” said library Bubbler Assistant Carlee Latimer, explaining that Beyond the Bubbler is especially intended to reach underserved children and families.
Brian Squire, Elementary Program Manager at the Lussier Community Education Center on Madison’s west side, said maker events have proven so popular among the kids who attend after-school programming there that the center wanted to make it a signature part of its curriculum. He particularly likes that maker activities require creative thinking, and that they build excitement and confidence among kids.
“Creating a maker space that fits us rather than having some blueprint or a cookie-cutter approach is really important to us, and we’re really excited to do this,” he said. Library staff are responsive to helping each center’s makerspace programming be unique and authentic to its community of users, he added, noting that about 90 percent of Lussier Community Education Center’s students are of color.
The center plans to build mobile maker carts that can travel throughout its spaces because there is not room for a dedicated makerspace, Squire said. One idea is a construction-deconstruction cart that would include tools, hardware, small electronic devices and other materials that could be taken apart or reassembled, depending on the maker’s inclination.
Madison Community Foundation is proud to fund vital assets — the library and community centers — as part of its 75th anniversary grantmaking, said Tom Linfield, its Vice President, Community Impact.
“Enabling the Bubbler to share its expertise and ingenuity with youth across the community is exhilarating,” Linfield said. “Going far beyond drop-in outreach, this project will train community center staff and provide thousands of dollars of materials so that centers can provide ongoing, on-site makerspace programming. Madison Community Foundation’s hope is that we help Madison Public Library share its extraordinary work far beyond the walls of its downtown space.”
Most of the programs will launch throughout the first half of 2018. To learn more about the Bubbler, visit madisonbubbler.org.