21st Century Libraries: 3 Reasons to Get a 3D Printer in 2017

3D printing has been in the spotlight for several years now, unleashing a storm of enthusiasm but it had also attracted a great deal of scepticism. However, one thing is for sure – 3D printing technology found its way into business and education, and it’s here to stay. Today, 3D printers are cost-effective and convenient tools in manufacturing, medicine and fashion. This is why it becomes more important for libraries and all educational institutions to recognise the potential of this revolutionary technology and make it available to their patrons.

Stay relevant 

Libraries in today’s digital world need to go beyond housing and archiving print resources, serving as a one-way conduit of information. Good libraries respond to major technological changes and evolve at the same pace as their community. Having a 3D printer in your library will attract the tech-savvy members of your community and make the library more relevant in the surrounding high-tech world and to those who thrive see libraries as outdated, boring places. 

Make STEM happen in your community

Technology pervades all aspects of modern life so it is important for libraries to embrace innovation and adapt to the growth of digital technology in order to stay relevant. 3D printing enables a creative, hands-on learning process that can be adapted to suit the needs of all ages. Currently, 250 libraries in the USA offer access to 3D printers to their members and the projects that came out of those places include various product prototypes, prosthetic limbs, teaching kits and school aids. All you have to do is give your community the tools and let its creativity do the rest.

Improve capacity for local businesses and workers

3D printing is a rapidly expanding field which opens new avenues for employment and career development. By providing your patrons with an access to a 3D printer, you are giving them an opportunity to develop skills in high demand and enter a constantly growing market for 3D printing expertise. Your library can become the enabling ‘think tank’ for career changers, job seekers and small-scale entrepreneurs in your community.

Finally, launching a 3d printing service at your library is a challenging and resource-consuming mission. It is also an important step for libraries stay relevant in the digital age as visible centres of knowledge, creativity and innovation. Follow our blog and find out more about funding opportunities, subject-specific resources and 3d printing guides!