I think some folks have already responded to 'why' pretty well, but I
figured I would add to the discussion from our perspective on the ground
at UNR in the DeLaMare Library and answer Edward's question too.
As far as why we are developing a makerspace or why we have 3D printers in
the library- I think Jason hit on two really important points - curriculum
and research support. In the library we hardly question buying journals
that cost upwards of $15K that may only support one department and in some
cases just one individual researcher. The 3D printer is already supporting
several schools and departments in terms of both research and curriculum.
There is a 3D printer in a department on our campus but the problem is-
the department keeps it under lock and key and students only get access to
that printer if they take a certain class within that specific department.
Here in the academic library- we are available to everyone on campus- no
lock and key, no special hours...we provide access to a much needed
service. Even over the summer- we've had faculty from Engineering,
Chemistry, and Art jumping in and working this service into their
curriculum even further now that they have access to the production
machine- it's a total win.
Previously a number of students and faculty has been sending their files
out to be printed at a rather high cost and turnaround time. This
eliminates that and allows our community to prototype more quickly and
more often. Chemistry has really gone far with this- one faculty remarked
that this has changed the way he does research now. Rapid prototyping is
As for equipment that is more dangerous to use- I've worked closely with
the local makerspace here in Reno, Bridgewire, and they've created a
student membership. They have and are going to continue to do workshops
for us here and they hold all kinds of workshops and events in their own
space. Anything that may be considered a liability is done on their
property and they have insurance. More recently, we are looking into
partnering with the campus machine shop. Again- they are well suited to
this kind of thing and take the necessary precautions.
I see the library as a bridge between a lot of these resources- we
communicate regularly with various groups to make sure students and
faculty get whatever resources they need- whether that's an article, a
book, a 3D printer, or access to a CNC machine.
My interest is in getting what our community needs, so while I keep an eye
out for how the laws will change in relation to these technologies, I
focus on serving the users and building the community. It's been
transformative here from when we were a building full of lots of print
books with very few people at all to now where we have open collaborative
space, 3D printers, button makers, poster printers, AR Drones, various
software, etc....and a LOT more users. We've seen the highest numbers of
users in this building that we've ever seen here. We have also heard from
several professors from different areas in full support of what we are
doing and praise the changes we've made here. At one point not too long
ago if you asked me what would happen to this library, I probably would
have said that it would be closed in the not too distant future; we've
totally turned that around because we've embraced our community and given
them something irresistible. The students graduating from here will have
had experience with technologies and learning in an environment that
encourages creating, which many other students across the country don't
have access to. I think it gives our students an advantage in a number of
industries where companies will be creating new kinds of jobs that we
can't yet imagine.
Our staff are the same existing staff that were here previously. No one is
specially trained- everyone has printed on the 3D printer- including all
of our student workers. It's fun, so it hasn't been a hard sell to anyone
to make something and learn...which is pretty cool. We set up the 3D Touch
printer ourselves- in fact the students busted open the box the second it
arrived, set it up and started printing. I wasn't even in the building
when that all happened- they took it on and I'm happy about that.
The production machine we have - the Uprint SE needed setup from the
vendor. He did a fairly quick rundown of how it all works and did the
machine setup for us. Since then it's been going non-stop without much
Out of both of the machines, the hobbyist machine has needed more
maintenance from us in terms of keeping it going well. The higher end
machine has been invaluable in that it runs without lots of "care and
We have a couple of different options available for 3D software and we
have a number of students and student workers who are already well-versed
in creating with these tools. We are asking them to teach others and give
workshops- this works well as most of our students prefer to learn from
other students in a casual way. Our staff may not be 3D experts but we are
a learning organization and everyone jumps in when help is needed- we do
our best and work through the problems- then share with each other when we
learn something new. Most seem to learn best by doing and we do a lot. :)
Engineering + Emerging Technologies Librarian
DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library
University of Nevada, Reno
On 8/27/12 10:48 AM, "Nate Hill" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>Joe, and really everyone, I think this is all a question of scope, scale
>and community needs/demands.
>I absolutely think creative/generative/participatory spaces belong in
>I firmly believe that the public library of the future is as much about
>access to tools as it about access to media, especially as we read about
>the "creative economy" and watch art, music, and shop programs get dropped
>in public schools.
>I have no intention of bringing welders into the library for the liability
>reasons you cite.
>I seek to partner with other community organizations that can provide
>services.... this is why I was asking if academic libraries might have
>similar partnerships with academic departments.
>And that said,
>There are many, many 'maker' activities public libraries already support
>and more we can expand to support.
>(think craft time in the kids room)
>Whether it is soldering, graphic design software, or making sock puppets,
>the public library is as much about these informal learning experiences as
>it is about access to Grisham, Shakespeare and JK Rowling.
>On Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 1:03 PM, Joe Hourcle
><[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>> On Aug 27, 2012, at 9:44 AM, BWS Johnson wrote:
>> > Salvete!
>> > Can't. Resist. Bait. Batman.
>> >> Can anyone on the list help clarify for me why, in an academic
>> >> this kind of equipment and facility isn't part of a laboratory in an
>> >> academic department?
>> > I'd say that I hate to play devil's advocate, but that would be a
>> patent misrepresentation of material fact.
>> > Conversely, could you please tell us why you think it *shouldn't*
>> at the Library?
>> I can think of one reason they shouldn't be *anywhere*: liability.
>> When I was working on my undergrad, in civil engineering, the
>> science and engineering school had their own machine shop.
>> Officially, you were only supposed to use it if you were a grad student,
>> or supervised by a grad student.
>> Yet, there were a number of us (the undergrad population) who had more
>> experience than the grad students. (I had done a couple years of shop
>> class during high school, one of the other students had learned from his
>> father who worked in the trade, another was going back to school after
>> having been a professional machinist for years, etc.).
>> So well, I know at least two of us would go down and use the shop
>> supervision. (and in a few cases, all alone, which is another violation
>> when you're working at 1am and there's no one to call for medical
>> assistance should something go really, really wrong).
>> And in some cases, we'd teach the grad students who were doing stuff
>> (trying to take off too much material in a pass, using the incorrect
>> etc. But I made just as many mistakes. (when you're in a true machine
>> shop, and there's two different blades for the bandsaw with different
>> it's not that one's for metal and one's for wood ... as they don't do
>> cutting there ... but I must've broken and re-welded the blade a half
>> times and gone through a quart of cutting fluid to make only a few
>> I didn't realize that I should've been using the lower TPI blade for
>> cutting aluminum)
>> I admit I don't know enough about these 'maker spaces' ... I assume
>> there'd have to be some training / certification before using the
>> equipment. The other option would be to treat it more like a print
>> where someone drops off their item to be printed, and then comes back to
>> pick it up after the job's been run.
>> And it's possible that you're using less dangerous equipment. (eg, when
>> in high school, my senior year we got a new principal who required that
>> teachers wear ties ... including the shop teachers. Have you ever seen
>> what happens when a tie gets caught in a lathe or a printing press?
>> lucky the teachers were experienced, as a simple mistake could've killed
>> But even something as simple as a polishing/grinding wheel could be a
>> hazard to both the person using it and anyone around them. (I remember
>> of my high school shop teachers not happy that I was so aggressive when
>> grinding down some steel, as I was spraying sparks near his desk ...
>> could've started a fire)
>> ... so the whole issue of making sure that no one gets injured / killed
>> damages others is one of the liability issues, but I also remember when
>> worked for the university computer lab, we had a scanner that you could
>> sign up to use. One day, one of the university police saw what one of
>> students was doing, and insisted that we were allowing students to make
>> fake IDs. (the student in question had scanned in a CD cover, which
>> distorted drivers license looking thing ... if he was trying to make a
>> ID, you'd think he'd have started from a genuine ID card)
>> As we've now got people who are printing gun receivers, there's a real
>> possibility that people could be printing stuff that might be in
>> of the law. (I won't get into the issue of if it's a stupid law or not
>> this is something the legal department needs to weigh in on). And
>> conversely, if you're a public institution and you censor what people
>> allowed to make, then you get into first amendment issues.
>> On a completely unrelated note, when I first saw the question about
>> libraries & maker spaces, I was thinking in the context of public
>> libraries, and thought the idea was pretty strange. I see a much better
>> fit for academic libraries, but I'm still not 100% sold on it. In
>> know that it's already possible to get a lot of stuff 'made' at most
>> universities, but you risk treading on certain trade's toes, which could
>> piss off the unions. Eg, we had a sign shop who had some CNC cutters
>> sheet goods (this was the mid 1990s), carpenters and such under the
>> building maintenance, large scale printing and book binding through the
>> university graphics department (they later outsourced the larger jobs,
>> rid of the binding equipment).
>> I could see the equipment being of use to these groups, but I don't know
>> that they'd be happy if their lack of control over being able to make
>> by charging for their services would go over well.
>> I would assume that if you were to move forward with this, that you'd
>> to identify the groups that could make use of it, how it might affect
>> groups (eg, those people that charged for performing these services),
>> try to get buy-in from all communities. You don't need a union picket
>> popping up because they think you're trying to take their jobs.*
>> * I'm generally pro-union, but I'm still bitter about an incident where
>> had a couple of hours of my time wasted at the San Francisco Moscone
>> Center, as a I needed our crate to pack up monitors, and I got it 1/2
>> out of their storage area before someone noticed me ... and he spent
>> time giving me a lecture about how that was someone else's job (as if my
>> intention was union busting), when he could've just said they wanted to
>> the carpet up first before rolling crates around ... then I had to sit
>> around for another hour, because he insisted on rolling my crate all the
>> way back to where it was ... and finally, he noticed me getting
>> he called in someone to deliver the crate, so they brought in someone
>> a forklift to move it the 30-odd yards when it had its own damned wheels
>> and if I'd have gone under the curtain, it would've only had to go 5
>> [and um ... insert standard disclaimer about how I'm not speaking for my
>> employer, etc.]
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