With the holiday season just around the corner, Barnes and Noble retail stores around the US will play host to the nation's first-ever retail Mini-Maker Faires Nov. 6-8. The STEAM (#Science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics)-fueled events will look to introduce kids and parents alike to creative new ways of thinking via hands-on experience with a variety of hobbyists, engineers, artists, and entrepreneurs. BlastingNews spoke exclusively with Barnes and Noble's VP of Toys and Games Kathleen Campisano on Oct. 28 to find out more about the retail giant's hopes for the unique in-store experience.

Per Campisano, plans to host maker-faires were in the works long before the event finally came to fruition, but she cited a partnership with Maker Media that "solidified" over the summer as the catalyst that transformed the dream into reality. 

She explained Barnes and Nobles' motivation for hosting in succinct fashion, telling BlastingNews that the bookseller, which has long served as home for "meaningful conversations," simply wanted to "open our doors and give the Makers movement a platform for which to share ideas and concepts." She also stressed the vital importance of supporting technology literacy in the 21st century, and expressed a desire to get rid of the long-held assumption that technology is "just for engineers." She hoped that the faires would "demystify" processes like coding, and help give kids the confidence needed to believe they can do it.

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BN Mini Maker-Faires: The experience spelled out

Campisano also gave a peek inside what faire visitors might expect when they swing by a retail store on event-day. She outlined three different areas that will be featured at each location, including the Make Workspace, where customers will see drones flying, coding, and even 3D printing in action; a Meet the Maker Space, where visitors can meet with local Makers and learn about their own "inventions, creations, and process"; and the Make and Collaborate area, where "everybody gets to be part of the process." 

Visitors to the Make and Collaborate Space will "go on a journey with the design studio pro... through drawing out and really demonstrating designs first-hand." But the process won't end there; per Campisano, the experience will continue as visitors use gears, wheels, Legos, and other building supplies to "rapid prototype" a design, and then add circuitry to bring the creations to life.

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For more information and to find a store location near you, check out the Maker Faire section of the Barnes and Noble website. #News #Education