Creating Creative Communities: 3D Printing in Library Programming

December 23, 2014

3D Patrons Headset

What does 3D printing mean for you, your public library, and the LIS field?

It can be challenging to keep up with technology's persistent, rapid developments. Even for the most digital-savvy among us, the breadth of innovations introduced and improved upon every day is staggering. The progress in 3D printing technology over the past few years has led to its application in myriad settings: medical prosthetics, geographic visualizations, replications of artifacts, and even, announced recently, "nutrient-dense" food for deployed soldiers that interfaces directly with their biochemistries. A sharp decline in price for 3D printers and supplies has led to a surge in purchases by public and academic libraries, often supported by grants aimed at democratizing access to new technology and often fueled by makerspace philosophies that are permeating the library world. According to the American Library Association, "Library 3D printing is empowering people to engage in creative learning, launch business ventures and solve complex health problems."

The School of Library and Information Science announced the arrival of a MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer and a MakerBot Digitizer 3D scanner to its Collaboratory this October thanks to a generous gift from a trustee. Assistant professor Laura Saunders explained, "It is a great start for the Innovation Space we are developing. It is going to help us grapple with the questions that emerge: What are the intellectual-property issues? What can we do beyond making little trinkets; and, how we can get access to the community in the best way?"

Read the full article at SLIS InfoLink

By Dean's Communications Fellow Lily Troia