Informed Librarian Online -- A Bit of Bytes --

Creative Commons
by Jenna Kammer

A few months ago I wrote about the Makerspace and all that is happening in them. Libraries are creating spaces for people to make things, and integrating this into the library’s mission to educate, create new knowledge and make resources available to the community. But what happens to things created in the makerspace? Do they just go home with the maker?
The answer to that is yes, the maker can just take their object home, or put the materials back to be reused by others later. However, some libraries are taking this a step farther by creating a culture of attribution. Instead of just allowing participants to create objects and be done with it, they work with the creators to add a creative commons license to it.
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization which established a system for facilitating the use of creative materials. They offer six different licensing options which are visually portrayed by four symbols: attribution, non-commercial, share alike and no derivatives. Creators choose how they want their work to be used by others. For example, one may choose to have their creation be limited with the non-commercial license, allowing others to copy and share the work, but not use it for money-making ventures. That license would look like this:
In the School Library Journal Webcast (60 Tools in 60 minutes, ), Monica Cabarcas talks about makerspaces in her libraries and how they use digital licensing as a learning tool for students to understand attribution and copyright. Students license their own work that they have created in the makerspace of their school libraries. After creating their digital object, the students create their own creative commons license that shows how they prefer to their work to be used by others. This teaches the students to think about their work as a digital object with intellectual property rights, while they are also learning about creating and sharing digital objects on the internet.
Other libraries support the use of creative commons for their users as well. For example, you can find information about establishing a creative commons credit on the copyright pages of the University of Minnesota Libraries website, These resources are not necessarily intended for things made within the library, like a makerspace, but are informational for the community to learn more about licensing work in general.

Many libraries are also involved with curating resources from creative commons libraries. Some of these include Flickr (site with creative commons images), Bandcamp (site with creative commons audio), or Vimeo (site with creative commons video). Penn State has a nice list of these sites in their Media Commons:
Create Your Own License

Making a creative commons license is really easy. The Creative Commons website ( has a simple form to complete with choices for your license. After completing the form, the license is created as an image, code and text explanation for use on a website or other document.
Creative Commons also offers a certificate for librarians (The CC librarian Certificate, because of the increased role librarians are playing with curating open content, as well as being involved with content creation in labs and makerspaces. The content provides an overview of the licenses and the open movement, while also providing some specifics about what it means for libraries.

Copyright 2017 by Jenna Kammer.

About the author:
My name is Jenna Kammer,, and I am the author of this column. I work as an instructional designer at the University of Missouri, in addition to teaching library and technology courses. My MILS is from the University of Arizona, and my PhD is from the University of Missouri.