We are now open and settled in the interim Exeter Central Library. (We have to be as from the beginning of February the old library is a no go area for fetching extra chairs, filing cabinets etc. The builders are taking over). Customers had missed us and most said that they were very impressed with the interim library. They like the cosy fiction rooms downstairs, the spacious separate children’s library and the extremely quiet upstairs non-fiction and study area. As the library is 25% smaller staff are getting very fit going upstairs to the overflow areas to fetch items for customers that are not on the public shelves. It is time-consuming but means we can keep a better range of stock than we can fit into the public rooms.
23 Things @ Devon Libraries week 8 Technology related blog
Though we have only just settled we are of course thinking about the next move and what staff and customers want for the new refurbished library. I have been looking around at what is new and one of the new technologies under discussion for libraries is 3D printing. Falling technology costs are making it increasing accessible. The BBC news website describes 3D printing as ‘3D objects are created by sending a digital file or scan to a printer which then builds the item layer by layer’. 20th September 2012 it had a piece on MakerBot industries preparing to open their first shop to sell home fabrication to the general public. Their new Replication 2.0 model sells at £1,360. A piece by Zoe Kleinman Technology reporter, BBC News on 31st August 2012 on the Milton Keynes Geek Camp included mention of an engineering student James Glanville who had built his own 3D printer. “It probably cost about £300 to make but it’s paid for itself three or four times over by selling things I’ve made from it,” he said, pointing to a 3D-printed Smartphone case.
Therefore if there are enough technology savvy model makers, craft hobbyists, designers, etc out there a 3D printer could be a useful and financially viable service provided by libraries. An interesting addition to the new library opening Spring 2014? What do you think?