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Public Libraries as Maker-Spaces

I got in trouble a few months ago for not telling fnord12 about 3D printers. Now when i see an article about them, i feel i need to make sure to let everyone know i read it.

With the internet providing resources for research and digital books becoming more available, the feeling is that libraries might soon be obsolete. Make Magazine suggested that libraries ought to become public make spaces, providing free access to machines and software. A public library in Fayetteville, NY has embraced this idea.

The Fayetteville Free Library where Smedley works is building a Fab Lab -- short for fabrication laboratory -- that will provide free public access to machines and software for manufacturing and making things.

So far, the Fab Lab is equipped with a MakerBot, a 3D printer that lets you "print" plastic pieces of your own design. The potential for 3D printers to revolutionize manufacturing as we know it is huge: imagine being able to design and then manufacture -- or "print" -- whatever you want. Moreoever, imagine the tools of manufacturing being in the hands of everyone, not just giant factories (and remember, since this is a public library, this is really putting the technology in the hands of everyone, not just those that can afford a membership at a traditional hackerspace).


Her plans also include offering free classes and programs for the community, including Introduction to 3D Printing, 3D design software training, computer programming, and Geek Girl Camps.

It's an interesting idea. Many libraries currently have a "craft" room available for groups to book and use. It's not such a big leap to go from that to maker-spaces. However, it would take quite a bit of revenue to set up because of all the equipment and software. Whereas, craft spaces are just tables and chairs set up and the public brings their own materials and tools.

It's also quite a big difference going from the stereotypical quiet reading space to what has to be a noisy build area. Not sure how people who still want a quiet place to study are going to feel about that.

On a different note, it would be awesome to have my own Makerbot. Besides the obvious plus of having anything with "bot" tacked on to the end of it, i'm always looking for shit at stores that apparently doesn't exist. I could make my own! I sucked at CADD, though, so i'm not so sure about the whole 3D design part.

By min | November 15, 2011, 11:41 AM | Science