Well, yes, loaning tools is a very interesting thing to suggest.
One of the things I loved about living in Berkeley (CA) was that the library had a tool lending facility. It was a fantastic community resource, and I think that "maker spaces" also allow the library to be a thriving part of the community. So while I agree a 3D printer is not a traditional library service, I do like when libraries think outside the box and reach out to the community.
I have also heard about some libraries having a "gaming night", where teens get together to play computer/video games. As you point out, it can encourage demographics that don't normally frequent book libraries. But it can also stimulate other types of learning and exploration, and allow people to have places to connect with other like-minded people in their town.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kyle Banerjee" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, May 20, 2013 1:15:22 PM
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Policies for 3D Printers
This is a bit off topic, but why would a library provide 3D printing
services when just printing text on paper seems to cause enough grief for
Don't get me wrong. I can see why people are interested in this. If I had
access to one (i.e. I weren't too lazy/cheap to use available services),
I'd fabricate all kinds of specialized tools and gizmos.
If 3D printing is provided gratis, the logical thing for people to do is to
print out stuff that they need based on files they just download from the
internet. Or make useful things to sell. I suspect this is not an issue yet
because 3D printing isn't in most peoples' consciousness yet.
The connection between fabrication and library services is tenuous at best.
May as well loan tools since that would be useful to many people and would
strongly appeal to demographic groups that historically don't frequent
On Mon, May 20, 2013 at 9:48 AM, Marc Comeau <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Sorry I'm a little late to the discussion.
> We've had a 3D printer deployed in our biggest library for about a year
> now and we've had to discuss the gun issue at length. Thankfully for us,
> the RCMP in Canada came out with a pretty clear statement on the fact that
> unless you have the proper registration and license, you can't do it in
> Canada. Since the library will never hold those licenses or registration,
> we can't legally do it.
> While we haven't drawn up any formal policy yet, the quiet line in the
> sand for us has been, "if it's illegal, we'll do it, if it's illegal we
> won't" Our University Librarian is the kind of person who will take a
> stand to defend library principles if there's anything in that messy grey
> area so it's a reasonable standing policy for the time being.
> We're rolling out to three other libraries on campus now though so we're
> likely to be writing something up very soon. To date though, after about
> 300 print jobs submitted, the most dangerous thing anyone has sent was a
> mini crossbow. The tip of the arrows were surprisingly sharp and it could
> probably have slightly pierced skin if equipped with the right rubber band.
> That said, it was clearly a novelty item and since our users are legally
> considered adults, they carry a good amount of responsibility on their own.
> It didn't even raise any questions from our front-line staff who do err on
> the side of caution since we're dealing with something new and unknown.
> We're seeing a lot of self-created models with a good amount of
> Thingiverse material as well. Haven't really bumped into any serious
> copyright/patent/trademark issues yet either though we'll be discussing
> that over the next month or two.
> Marc Comeau
> Director of Library IT
> Library Information Technology Services
> Dalhousie University
> On 2013-05-20, at 9:39 AM, Edward Iglesias wrote:
> > Thank you all for this great feedback. I imagine we will probably not
> > charge at the beginning and change as needed. My Director's bigger
> > is the whole "are they gonna print a gun with that" question. Luckily we
> > have a student handbook to point to.
> > Edward Iglesias
> > On Sun, May 19, 2013 at 10:19 AM, Nate Hill <[log in to unmask]>
> >> If fines, fee structures, and social contracts in community spaces
> >> you, watch Clay Shirky's TED talk about cognitive surplus, and listen to
> >> the story about day care centers and late pickup fees.
> >> On Sunday, May 19, 2013, BWS Johnson wrote:
> >>> Salvete!
> >>>> Libraries charge to lend books.
> >>> Some, by no means all. It's also generally limited to newer
> >> materials.
> >>> It's universally stupid to do this, in my opinion. The folks that can
> >>> are already buying copies, and we're hurting the patrons that can't
> >>>> Late fines are almost universal, and lost
> >>>> items will result in a charge for replacement costs.
> >>> What are we getting for our charges? Is this go away mentality worth
> >>> it? Is this helping or hurting us in the relevancy arena? It's
> >>> hurting in the fundraising department, which is precisely where it's
> >> meant
> >>> to help. Every budget I've seen has not netted enough in charging for
> >>> extras to offset the actual costs they're seeking to cover. So with
> >> in
> >>> mind, why are we doing this? Our patrons rightfully see these as
> >>> fees. If we're doing it to avoid abuse, which is why I assume a lot of
> >>> these are implemented, there are usually better ways to go about that.
> >>> Cheers,
> >>> Brooke
> >> --
> >> Nate Hill
> >> [log in to unmask]
> >> http://4thfloor.chattlibrary.org/
> >> http://www.natehill.net