Willett contributes to IMLS Makerspaces Grant

Oct 2014

IMLS National Leadership grant to study Madison Public Library makerspaces

Assistant Professor Rebekah Willett (SLIS) and Associate Professor Erica Halverson (Department of Curriculum & Instruction) in partnership with Madison Public Library, have received a two-year $456,627 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The grant will focus on makerspaces and learning across the Madison Public Library’s Bubbler program starting in October 2014.  Trent Miller (Madison Public Library Bubbler manager) and Jesse Vieau (Madison Public Library Teen Librarian) will collaborate with Willett and Halverson to study a variety of existing Bubbler programs, and then collaboratively re-design programs to support learning.  

The Bubbler is a maker-focused program for all ages that stretches across the Madison Public Library system including nine libraries and various outreach locations. The Bubbler includes activities, demonstrations, and make-and-take workshops. Programs feature area experts in art, design, and technology. Unlike many makerspaces in libraries that are housed exclusively within a single library, the Bubbler is unique in its system-wide approach to learning through making. This IMLS grant will allow UW-Madison researchers and public library officials to learn more about learning through making and to analyze how Bubbler programming is developed and sustained system-wide.  Willett and Halverson will study how the Bubbler programs facilitate communities of learners, what makes a program successful, and how to evaluate makerspaces and learning. These findings will be valuable to new and developing maker programs in libraries around the country.

The grant project will also support existing Bubbler programs including the successful ‘Meet your Maker’ and ‘Artist in Residence’ events as well as innovative new partnerships focusing on underserved populations, including justice-involved youth at the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center, Shelter Home and Neighborhood Intervention Program.

SLIS + The Bubbler help court-involved teens

Sept 2014

The Bubbler: Making Justice with Court-Involved Teens

-Drawing above by an anonymous Dane County Teen

A campus-community initiative led by the UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies and the Madison Public Library has been awarded two grants to expand an innovative makerspace program for Dane County teens entangled in the justice system. Madison Public Library’s maker-focused program, the Bubbler, taps community resources to encourage hands-on, peer-supported learning and digital literacy. With generous funding from the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment and the Morgridge Center for Public Service, ‘The Bubbler: Making Justice with Court-Involved Teens’ initiative will address the educational opportunity gap for low-income youth of color in Madison. The program involves digital media and expressive art projects for teens in the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center, Shelter Home and Neighborhood Intervention Program. Through the Bubbler program, teens will create graphic and 3D art, photographic, spoken word, storytelling, performance and video projects documenting themselves, their communities, and the justice system. SLIS students enrolled in a community engagement class will participate in the service-learning Bubbler program as peer learners and makers. A broad coalition of community partners will help plan and facilitate Bubbler sessions, including local black makers, artists, activists, youth educators, and members of the JVN Project, a student-led organization that uses Hip-Hop as a tool for positive change

For more information, contact Nancy Buenger ( or Rebekah Willett (

Also visit, Madison Bubbler on Facebook, or @madisonbubbler on Twitter.


Invitation to ALA Accreditation Team Visits

Sept 28 and 29

ALA Accreditation Team Visits SLIS

Public Receptions: Sept 28 and 29th, 4:30-6pm, SLIS Library

You are invited to meet and speak with members of the American Library Association Committee on Accreditation External Review Panel at two receptions at SLIS.  The panel is visiting SLIS as part of SLIS's re-accreditation process.  No RSVP is necessary.

Reception 1: Sunday Sept 28, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
SLIS Library, 4191 HC White Hall

Reception 2: Monday, Sept 29, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
SLIS Library, 4191 HC White Hall

A limited number of pay parking spots are available underneath HC White Hall.  More public pay parking is available on the Lake Street City of Madison parking ramp. 

Kristin Eschenfelder and Greg Downey Awarded Sloan Foundation Grant

Sept 2014


SLIS Professors Kristin Eschenfelder and Greg Downey have been awarded an $180,535 three year research grant with colleague Kalpana Shankar of University College Dublin to investigate the sustainability of social science data archives from a global information perspective.  The study will highlight changes in the social science data landscape from the 1960s through today (including open data initiatives), the shifting challenges confronting data archives stemming from changes in research practices, and the strategies employed by archives to manage change in both the United States and Europe.  This socio-technical study of information infrastructure will inform planning, development and management of data archives across many fields of science.   For more information about the study please contact PIs Kristin Eschenfelder or Kalpana Shankar (;

Omar Poler featured in Library Journal

Sept 2014


Library Journal interviewed Omar Poler in the latest issue of In-Depth Interviews. Poler was a 2014 Mover & Shaker and has a deep and personal connection to the American Indian community that has been enriched by his library work and has motivated him to form the Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums (TLAM) Project, one of the few projects to incorporate American Indian topics into LIS education. Read the full interview here. More information about TLAM can be found at