Blogger Gretchen Schulz

Designing a Programming Space

Picture of colorful gears of all sizes

Ever been tasked with designing a programming space?

When I accepted my current position as Tween Librarian in September of 2017, I was given such a task. My boss gave me the job to head a committee and launch a STEAM space for kids. She wanted to re-purpose one of the four Storytime rooms we had.

Where do you begin when designing such a space?

I had no idea. Luckily, I happened to get an e-mail from Library Journal advertising their Maker Workshop online course. My boss let me sign up for it, and it was able to lead me in the right direction.

The most helpful piece of advice the course offered, is one I could have easily overlooked. Instead, I took it to heart. They said to make a Mission Statement.

I will never forget the positive and creative vibes that flowed in the room as we (the committee and I) worked to form our Mission Statement. While it is creative sounding, it took some solid facts to make it. For example, we needed to know our target age group (3rd-6th graders), and the name (The Lab) of our new space. Both of which were up to our manager. Once we had that, we were able to let the creative juices flow.

We utilized our organization’s Mission and Vision Statement as inspiration–which you can find here. We were inspired by our local children’s museum’s Manifesto, and decided to also create such a statement for our space.


The Lab’s Mission Statement:

In The Lab’s immersive and nonjudgmental environment, children grades 3 through 6 learn and explore STEAM topics with innovative resources and the encouragement of STDL staff to build a
bridge to their futures.

The Lab’s Manifesto

Welcome to The Lab, a place for inquisitive minds to use their curiosity, imagination, and creativity to explore, collaborate, and take risks through STEAM activities that take you on journeys where failure is encouraged, persistence is key, and teamwork leads to lifelong connections.


Forming these statements really set the tone for a wonderful STEAM space. It solidified our respect for each other as a team, and gave us the direction we needed to design programming for our young patrons.

If you are ever tasked with such an awesome opportunity, I highly encourage you to consider creating a Mission Statement. You will not regret it.


This post addresses the core competency of III. Programming Skills.

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