Over the past 40 years, public libraries have followed popular culture through the ever-more-abstract artifacts of the digital age, offering music and video in every format, public computers for Internet access, online branches, and downloadable content. Now, some libraries are following Maker culture back to things we can hold in our hands.
Darien Library, CT, launched a new Espresso Book Machine (EBM), which can print and create a bound book in a matter of minutes, during its annual meeting on October 30. The Sacramento Public Library, CA, will soon launch its own EBM. They’re two of only three public libraries in the country currently providing the fee-based print-on-demand service to patrons—but if the service catches on, it could be the first step in establishing public libraries as a center for on-demand book printing and self-publishing.