An ALA information policy analyst outlines the legal issues relevant to 3-D printing in public and school libraries—and explains why librarians should lead the way in creating acceptable use policies for this technology.
Imagine if building a flashlight was as easy as stacking blocks, or that you could build a robot with a shoebox, nine-volt battery, and a pile of components small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Enter LittleBits, a modular, à la carte electronics prototyping platform for users of all skill levels
Has the maker movement taken hold in your library yet? Starting a maker space is easier—and less costly—than you may think. Technologies such as robotics, digital video production, computer coding, and 3-D printing may garner the most attention, but traditional activities instill the same spirit of invention, collaboration, and critical thinking of the maker phenomenon.
In the not-so-distant future, communities could view their local libraries as the place to go when they want to publish their own ebook, create and edit their latest song or video, or even design and print out plastic tools, toys, and prototypes. A growing number of libraries already offer their patrons tools such as recording equipment and sound and video editing software. Now, some are beginning to house 3D printers. In fact, many libraries have begun viewing such services as a core part of their mission.