Can 3D Printers Make Libraries Useful Again?

As the printed word gives way to digital distribution, libraries must change in both form and function in order to remain relevant in the Internet age. One New York book repository has taken the lead in this effort by installing the country's first "maker's space" within a public library.

The effort is being spearheaded by Lauren Smedley of the Fayetteville Free Library. The Fayetteville facility, which is actually housed in an old furniture factory, is building a fabrication laboratory. The Fab Lab, as it's called, will provide free public access to the machines and resources needed for home-scale manufacturing.

The Lab currently only includes a Makerbot 3D printer, but Lindley hopes to soon acquire a CNC Router and laser cutter as well. Once complete, the lab is expected to host a variety of community events, including classes for 3D Printing, 3D design software, computer programming, and Geek Girl Camps.

It's certainly refreshing seeing New York's public libraries being used for something other than porn hubs. And, while 3D fabrication is slowly emerging from the home-brew community into the mainstream, they're still wicked expensive. Any opportunity to expose the public to this technology—even just on loan—will only accelerate its adoption. [KQED via BoingBoing - Image via Ferenc Szelepcsenyi / Shutterstock]


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