SLJ Post: A Student-Designed Maker Cart

A Student Designed Maker Cart | In an article I wrote for School Library Journal, I describe a powerful collaboration that became the Furniture Challenge, where my students designed a cart for makerspaces, which was later manufactured by CEF>

Note: This post is a brief summary/intro of an article I wrote that appeared in the Septemeber 2017 School Library Journal.  To read the full article, click here.

The Furniture Challenge

Towards the end of the 2017 school year, I introduced a design challenge to my afterschool Maker’s Club that was one of our best ones ever.  We began the Furniture Challenge in collaboration with Custom Educational Furnishings (CEF).  The challenge was this:

Design a piece of furniture that could help another school to start or enhance their makerspace.  The only rule is that it has to be something that could actually be feasible to manufacture (sorry – no storage carts with flamethrowers)

The students came up with all sorts of amazing ideas and presented them to representatives from CEF.  Those representatives then looked at all the submissions to select one that they began manufacturing.

A Student-Designed Maker Cart

The final selection, a storage cart designed by three boys, is now being manufactured by CEF.  This Maker Cart now enhancing makerspaces all across the country and I couldn’t be prouder of my former students.  CEF filmed this whole process and created a great video, which you can check out below.  If you want to read more about the design process that my students went through and how the cart was selected and manufactured, click on over to School Library Journal and read the full article there.


Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.