[hackerspaces] Floating community equipment sets?

Shirley Hicks shirley at velochicdesign.com
Sat May 7 16:40:00 CEST 2016

Hey everyone,

We have an unaddressed need in the greater Birmingham, AL metro area for a floating set of laptops, arduinos/inventor’s kits that could be loaned out to multiple community groups already working with kids, teens and adults, but who are having difficulties finding budget room for instructional kits, or bureaucratic room (IT security concerns) regarding adding additional IDEs and other software tools to their networked computers. 

The few community groups who have attempted this haven’t been the most tech savvy and have run into problems with budgeting maintenance and eventual replacement into their programs, as well as instruction. They also haven’t scaled - lack of communication between different parts of the community (black/white, urban/suburban/exurban, no one regional school system, biggest library system underfunded).

Our makerspace is in the unique position of knowing most of the people who want to do more of this stuff within their individual community groups - and having the technical and financial background to get this rolling for the long-term. 

I’m planning to write a grant application in June, but need some help finding financial models from other community groups and makerspace who have gone down this road. I’m specifically looking for experiences with kit durability, need for replacement parts, laptop maintenance needs, any paid staff costs that need to be allowed for, and the financial planning required to do it all. 

Any pointers would be appreciated. 


Shirley Hicks
Red Mountain Makers
Birmingham, AL

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