Library Awarded Federal Grant for the Makerspace Project

The James B. Duke Memorial Library at Johnson C. Smith University has been awarded a $100,000 grant to be used for a project called “Making Space for Tech @ An HBCU.” Funds will be used to develop an academic Makerspace that will give all users the opportunity to gain proficiency in design and manufacturing technologies that are becoming more prevalent in the workplace.

This grant is one of 39 competitive Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants for fiscal year 2017-2018 awarded to North Carolina libraries. These federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services are investments that help libraries deliver relevant and up-to-date services for their communities.

Makerspace Research Connoisseur and Project Manager Dr. Chantell McDowell said she believes a Makerspace at Johnson C. Smith University will influence the integration of the “maker” culture into liberal arts, business, arts, the sciences, and technology in innovative, socially conscious ways that empower students to become entrepreneurs and leaders.

Through the skills and knowledge that will be attained through project activities, JCSU students will have a competitive edge when entering the job market, making them more viable candidates for employment. The Makerspace will also provide an arena for research and innovation, which we believe will lead to an increase in faculty and student-based research campus-wide.

We also anticipate an expanded entrepreneurial mindset amongst JCSU students, faculty, staff, and community users, which will foster an increase in new approaches to business and the creation of new enterprises. Lastly, by implementing a Makerspace, we will create a replicable model for tech skills training that can be applied to other university libraries serving users of similar demographics.

For more information about North Carolina’s LSTA program, visit the State Library of North Carolina’s LSTA web page at or contact the State Library’s Federal Programs Consultant at 919-807-7423.

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