It’s been quite some time since libraries had a program introducing free use of progressive new technology in their buildings—harkening back to the advent of PCs, use of the internet, and even printers. Some of us may remember what a big deal that was back when everyone did not have a system at home.
Over the many past years though the library has become a reliable place not so much for use of a computer but for free wireless or a great place to stop in when you are out of town and need services. (Oh yeah, they do have a lot of good books too.)
Currently though, new life and certainly new energy is being infused into both libraries and museums—as well as the world—with the advent of 3D printing, and comprehensive programs like the 3D Systems MakerLab Club.
Recently, 3DS was able to proudly announce that 100 libraries and museums are participating in the MakerLab Club, and are dedicated to running programs and workshops, as well as receiving Cube 3D printers. Working together to promote a new type of literacy—that of 3D printing—the MakerLab Club program is the culmination of partnerships between 3DS, the Youth Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC). Altogether, they now have 1300 members.
“The MakerLab Club delivers unprecedented local access to 3D printing through placement in public facilities,” said Leanne Gluck, Director of Social Impact, 3DS. “This new program embodies 3DS’ mission to promote 3D education and empower students and institutions by expanding the availability of 3D technology.”
Participating today at the 5th White House Science Fair, 3DS was highly celebrated for their focus—and results—in bringing 3D printing not only to the world—but to the educational arena. With their announcement regarding the nice round number of 100 special participants in the MakerLab Club, they added that these are the libraries and museums who have committed to run over 1,000 3D printing programs countrywide.
Making quite a splash at the science fair, 3DS had Cube 3D printers on site which were producing examples of 3D printing for students and attendees, and included a celebrity visit from the famed canine, Derby, who now has a new lease on life, thanks to his 3D printed prosthetic leg.
It’s no surprise that the White House is a proponent of 3D printing, as the Obama administration has been a leader in promoting the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) curriculum agenda, with 3D printing surely held in high esteem. This was demonstrated last Christmas when the White House used digital technology as their theme, complete with 3D printed ornaments and more.
Libraries and museums interested in being part of the MakerLab Club program had to complete an application process. The one hundred chosen to participate and receive the Cube printers were selected out of 1,300 institutions applying, and will each receive up to four Cube 3D printers via 3DS. Each of the 100 participating libraries and museums will have a dedicated MakerLab space, with their Cube 3D printers as the focus, while they offer workshops on the basics of 3D printing technology—and very importantly—training for teachers and parents.
“The Association of Science-Technology Centers is delighted to partner with 3D Systems and its MakerLab Club to help inspire a generation of young innovators through the use of the latest 3D printing technologies,” said Anthony Rock, President and CEO, ASTC. “Working with science centers and museums everywhere, students and teachers alike will explore new creative ideas using advanced 3D printing techniques, sharing these creative concepts and best practices through the MakerLab Club, helping turn today’s young visionaries into tomorrow’s inventors and problem solvers.”
As 3D printing begins to make its way slowly into the library system and more, one can only hope it will soon become commonplace to walk into one of these public buildings and expect to be able to work on a 3D printing project with quality equipment.
“3D Systems’ MakerLab Club will enable library staff to tap into resources and build knowledge to help them better serve today’s teens, who need access to the latest technologies, such as 3D printers, in order to prepare for 21st-century careers,” said Chris Shoemaker, President, YALSA. “YALSA is pleased to partner with 3D Systems on this important effort.”
Libraries and Museums participating in the MakerLab Clubs also receive:
- Continued materials for workshops
- Monthly access to 3DU
- Special discounts for equipment
- Opportunities to win free hardware and software
3DS encourages libraries and museums to apply to participate in the MakerLab program by joining with 3DS and their partners, as well as becoming connected with other entities using forward-looking technologies to advance and educate students who will need high-tech skills as they graduate and look for fulfilling careers. More information can be found here.
Have you been to a library that offers 3D printing? If so, what do you think about the programs being offered, and especially the 3DS MakerLab Club? Share with us in the 100 Librararies and Museums Participating in MakerLab Club forum over at 3DPB.com.