The Cambridge Idea Exchange has some exciting news: we’ve added button makers to our branches! While policy is still in the works, as of now, patrons can create a limited number of buttons for free. I ran an introductory maker space at the high school branch – at which over 60 buttons were made in 1.5 hours! It’s not every day that the public library can get dozens of teens excitedly crowding around the info desk…unless you have a button maker.
I created many presized images that I knew would appeal to teens – celebrities, inspirational quotes, sassy sarcastic quotes, popular movie and comic book characters, etc (see downloadable resources). While almost all of the premade images were used (or grabbed for later), I was surprised that over half of the buttons made were hand drawn or written. Never underestimate the creativity and talent of teens!
I also allowed teens to request certain images for buttons. This meant that for each request I had to search for a suitable picture, save it, insert it into the template, resize it, and print it. Now that I’ve got it down to a science though, it can be done in about 1 minutes (depending on how obscure the image is!) I found that letting teens request their own images was an awesome way to get to know what they love. Tons of anime, hardcore bands (or “post-hardcore” as I was told), YouTube celebs I’d never heard of, K-Pop bands. I learned a lot.
The maker is now available upon request for supervised use, and gets used on a regular basis by teens and children in the library. I’ve also found it super helpful to add flare to programs and displays.