Yesterday we mentioned the Teen Tech Camp that Durham Libraries is holding in August. This is one great example of libraries joining in maker culture and new digital education. Today we’ve got two great stories from other cities (each with their own makerspaces) where libraries are joining in too.
In DC, the DC Library system is opening a Digital Commons in one of their libraries. This space will provide 3D printing, computers with 3D design tools, a Print-on-Demand system, and space for local innovators to meet up and plan.
The new facility, in a renovated 11,000-square foot section of the library’s ground floor, contains a 3-D printer, an Espresso Book Machine that churns out tomes on-demand, an array of tablet devices, rows of computer terminals, and several meeting spaces outfitted with some of the newest productivity technology.
“We’re changing as the world is changing,” Ginnie Cooper, D.C.’s outgoing chief librarian, says during a tour of the space. Cooper and Nick Kerelchuck, who manages the first floor of the MLK Library, start with the 3-D printer, which they’ve already used to churn out several toys and tools made from plastic filament according to user-generated computer designs.
In Chicago, the Chicago Library is opening a “pop-up maker lab“.
Visitors will eventually be able to make use of three MakerBot 2 3D printers, two laser cutters from Inventables, and one milling machine, in addition to open source software on a fleet of computers so that people can design their own projects. In the weeks leading up to the public opening, members of the CPL and American Library Association staff have been using the machines to make wooden iPhone docks with the milling machine, craft their own custom keychains with the laser cutters, and even print an entire chess set with the 3D printers, though they’re eager to see what the public will come up with following the launch.
We think it’s awesome to see libraries joining up with maker culture to provide excellent resources to their community. We hope to add to our work (like the Scratch Day we helped with in May) with local libraries, and hope to see you at an event soon.