In 2016, as the second annual statewide NJ Makers Day neared, the event’s lead founder, Piscataway Public Library (PPL) emerging technologies librarian Doug Baldwin, received ten Maker kits. The good news: the kits had been paid for by a sponsor. The bad news: they arrived so late that Baldwin had to convey them himself to participating sites. “I got in my less-than-reliable car and mapped out a path to deliver all ten kits…in one day,” Baldwin says. “The fates certainly smiled on me as my car did not break down logging those miles.”
Gina Seymour’s grandmother was a clerk at the Queens Borough Public Library, NY, and as a kid, Seymour spent many hours there. Unlike at school, where her book selections were limited to those with the “pukey green” level label, she says, at grandma’s library she could read any book and learn about experiences different from her own.
When Beth-Ann Ryan started at the State of Delaware’s Division of Libraries (DDL) in 2008, the Delaware Library Catalog included half the public libraries, a handful of academic libraries, and a couple of schools. Since then, it’s grown to a statewide single system that includes every public library, six academic libraries, seven school libraries, and 13 special libraries. As deputy director of DDL since September 2011, Ryan has been instrumental in making this connectivity happen.
On June 11, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), in collaboration with the Congressional Maker Caucus, Maker Media, and Nation of Makers, hosted its first Capitol Hill Maker Faire, featuring a series of panel discussions and an expo open to the public, including members of Congress. Held in conjunction with this year’s National Maker Faire at the University of District of Columbia and the White House National Week of Making, June 12–18, these events indicate the growing interest in our nation’s capital in the Maker movement and its potential implications for education, workforce development, and community building.
It wasn’t your average ribbon-cutting ceremony. In place of the traditional ribbon, a length of ivy. Instead of an oversized pair of golden scissors, pruning shears, hedge trimmers, and garden loppers. And on September 26, 2014 (Johnny Appleseed Day), with a quick snip of the shears, The Shed at Arlington Public Library’s (APL) Central Branch, VA, packed with tools for planting and digging, weeding and cutting, raking and watering, was open for business. The business of borrowing, that is.
It isn’t surprising that 3-D printers are often mentioned in the same breath as library Maker spaces. “Additive manufacturing” technology is about 30 years old, but as it becomes more refined, as well as more affordable, its growing importance to engineering and prototyping appears to be inevitable, as well as its use in everything from medicine to haute cuisine. Meanwhile, during the past few years, dozens of small desktop units have become available, most priced out of reach for casual users but within the means of many libraries interested in offering their communities access to new technologies.
It was back in April 2014 that we first met. The Makerbot Replicator and I, that is. I work at the Half Hollow Hills Community Library (HHHCL) in Dix Hills, NY, and we are part of the Suffolk County Library System, located on the eastern half of Long Island. Our library system has a bit of a reputation for being smart and ahead of the curve with technology, and when HHHCL heard of its out-of-the-box idea of circulating a 3-D printer among member libraries, we couldn’t wait to sign up. Our turn came last April.
Radical Home Economics revives homemaking skills for adults. In this hands-on series, participants work together to make things that are meaningful in their everyday lives. RHE is a fresh and exciting take on one of the library’s oldest and most fundamental purposes. The real power behind lending books is the conviction that you can be your own expert. Maker programming shares this purpose. In a culture where everything is increasingly commoditized and prepackaged, access to this foundational library value is increasingly rare, valuable, and transformative.
A group of twelve people gather around a table about to transform used bicycle tubes into fashionable pouches or change purses. Next month it could be knitting—or making bracelets from old printer cables. At the Greenpoint branch of the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), the library has tapped into the New York City borough’s thriving artisanal community to create a popular monthly workshop for 12-15 adults.
(This story has been revised to show that the 3D printers in the Fayetteville Free Library were donated.) The DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library at the University of Nevada, Reno, has become the first academic library in the U.S. to offer 3D printing and scanning services to all students and the community at large. […]