UNR librarian represents Nevada at National Makers Fair in Washington, D.C. | nnbw.com
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UNR librarian represents Nevada at National Makers Fair in Washington, D.C.

Special to the NNBW
University of Nevada, Reno's DeLaMare Geography and Maps librarian Chrissy Klenke stands in front of the White House and the Eisenhower Executive Building for the National Makers Fair in Washington, D.C. Friday, June 17.
Courtesy UNR |

The University of Nevada, Reno’s own Christina Klenke, the Earth Science and Map librarian at the DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library, represented Nevada at this year’s National Makers Fair in Washington, D.C.

Klenke is known in her role at the library as a facilitator of innovation amongst students and community members alike, according to Tod Colegrove, head of DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library. It was her work not only at DeLaMare, but as one of the six organizers of the Bay Area Makers Faire that led her to become Nevada’s voice at the national celebration of making, which was held June 17-23.

“Chrissy is a catalyst in the library,” Colegrove said in a press release. “Otherwise people would come in and not know what to do. All of a sudden this person comes along and starts bumping people into each other and encouraging people and this magic happens. That magic is exactly why Chrissy was one of the six people that produced the Bay Area Maker Faire, and now she’s being invited to the White House because she has that magic.”

The White House created the Nation of Makers initiative in 2014 to promote awareness and access to advanced technologies in designing and manufacturing.

The initiative has been expanded to include a national Week of Making and the third annual National Maker Fair, an event that brings together makers from across the country and includes various federal agencies to foster learning and creativity in the rapidly evolving field of making.

According to Klenke, it’s an opportunity unlike anything else.

She believes the continued support of makers both locally and federally is the key to helping students identify themselves as makers and to becoming part of the movement.

“It also helps for some people who don’t really realize they’re makers,” Klenke said. “Something we’re doing here locally, and as part of the national initiative, is to bring out what they never thought they could do by soldering something together, creating a tote bag or designing a sticker. It’s these types of activities that are fun and teach different types of skills they can then apply to bigger projects whether it’s for school or just designing something.”

The University is no stranger to innovative makerspaces. It was recognized as one of the most interesting makerspaces in America by Make Magazine in 2014. The DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library is home to 3D printing and scanning, laser and vinyl cutters, and soldering and sewing equipment in its makerspace. The space allows students and community members to gather and create in the vein of John Seely Brown’s theory of creative abrasion, where every idea is the jumping off point for something inventive, according to Colegrove.

In supporting this brand of communal ingenuity, Klenke and Colegrove are looking toward a cultural shift to making in America once again.

“I think we’re kind of coming back to this industrial, not necessarily the industrial revolution, but making this circle in coming back to the time when people made things,” Klenke said. “They were makers instead of just consumers. We’ve turned into consumers, and now people are coming back to the DIY culture, do it yourself, so the future of making is just the blend of all of this.”


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