Library Stories

This transformation of a traditional library into an innovation space makes sense. Libraries are communal spaces that have always been setup to share resources and create community. So why not bring in 3D printers, vinyl cutters, CNC machines and electronics? Why not extend services and empower patrons by teaching them new skills and providing them with access to a collection of machines and equipment? By January 2015, according to OITP Perspectives, a publication by the American Library Association (ALA) there were 250 libraries in the US that offered 3D printers to patrons. Since then that number has been steadily growing.

Incorporating making and 21st century skills into libraries has brought along with it certain challenges, inevitable mistakes, and also many wins. Along the way there have  been many lessons learned. For instance,  

  • How do you teach others new skills that you are just learning yourself?
  • How do you overcome your apprehension about taking apart an expensive machine so that you can maintain it or troubleshoot a problem?
  • What criteria do you use to make the right purchasing decisions?
  • How do you establish proper procedures for a communal workspace without an existing model to evaluate? How do you effectively manage the consumables, know how much to order or know how much to charge for the materials and time used?
  • How do you decide what should be allowed and how then how do you enforce your rules?
  • How do you ensure that if you do make this investment, it will pay off?

This project is entitled “Library Stories,” and the intention is to share what has worked and why the efforts to shift from storing information to directly supporting knowledge production have been worth it. Has someone in the public library used the 3D printer to create a prototype and then started a company? Has someone at the University’s library found their purpose by teaching the tools and thus becoming a leader in the community? And how are digital fabrication tools allowing libraries to extend their outreach beyond the library walls? These stories are being collected from across the United States and Canada in order to demonstrate how different libraries are embracing the maker movement and how 3D printing can transform lives.

Library Stories

  1. Brock Library Makerspace
  2. A lot more is happening in the library than just borrowing books by Etienne Douglas,
    Webstar Coordinator/Community Library Specialist Marin City Library
  3. Come for the fidget spinners, stay for the fun! by Jenny Norton,
    Westlake Porter Public Library STEAM Librarian
  4. San Mateo Libraries by San Mateo Libraries
  5. Learning by printing in the Makers Lab by Dylan Romero,
    Learning Tech Specialist at UCSF
  6. Stetson University Library is also an art studio by Susan M. Ryan,
    Dean of the Library & Learning Technologies at Stetson University Library
  7. Becoming a 3D printing expert by San Mateo Libraries
  8. Creating impossible-to-find model railroad parts at the library by Jeff Trout,

    Supervisor at the Technology Learning Center of the Cape May County Library

  9. 3D printing across disciplines by Angela M. Vanden Elzen,

    Reference & Web Services Librarian and Assistant Professor at Lawrence University Interdisciplinary Makerspace

  10. A librarian's journey of going from zero to maker by Jessica Lamarre
    librarian and makerspace coordinator at the Duxbury Free Library in Plymouth County, Massachusetts
  11. Atomic Object Technology Showcase - A spotlight for 3D printing and emerging technologies by Samantha Krepel and Eric Kunnen, Librarians at Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons at Grand Valley State University
  12. Growing opportunities with 3D printing by Andrea Puglisi , Serials/Reference Librarian at Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library

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