This is the story of a bird feeder. In a public library Makerspace just before Christmas, I never really know if I’ll have a gaggle of kids show up to make use of Legos or empty classes as folks rush to get ready for the holidays. You learn to be ready for anything.

Yesterday, I only had one person registered for my bird feeder workshop. I nearly canceled it because I had a ton of end of year paperwork to wrap up. In the end, I decided to let it be and see who showed up. Well, a lovely 69-year-old woman, Diane, showed up right on time.

It was her first time in a Makerspace. She didn’t know what to expect. As we worked together on the project, she told me she’d had a stroke 8 months ago. Though she loved her work as an accountant and had planned to work until 75, she found she could no longer keep up.

So she was feeling lost. She feels like she still has a lot to give and loves to learn. When she saw the poster for my workshop she signed up right away, for a new challenge to keep her mind sharp. We ended up talking for quite a while about her life and mine.

As she left she thanked me, not just for the bird feeder which she loved, but for taking the time to listen and chat. She said she’d be back soon. It was a powerful reminder that libraries and Makerspaces exist for much more than the stuff on the shelves.

They exist for connection. For communication. They are magic places where we can all share a bit of ourselves and make something new and special. So with that my friends, I wish you all a beautiful holiday and a Happy New Year. Go make something amazing.

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