Are Libraries Reinventing Themselves?


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With the invention of e-books and other electronic media, reading publications in paper form is no longer the norm. Therefore, perhaps libraries that people once used to find print literature or reference materials need to find other ways to keep the public interested.

Maybe that’s what the Chicago Public Library was thinking when it decided to open the city’s first free fabrication lab on the third floor of Harold Washington Library. This lab offers public access to 3D printers, laser cutters, a milling machine and a vinyl cutter as well as a variety of supporting design software. According to “Chicago Public Library welcomes first ‘fab lab’,” an article on ChicagoBusiness.com, the lab is an effort to introduce new technologies to city residents. After its 6-month run, the library says it will consider hosting labs in neighborhood branches.

Is the role of libraries in a traditional sense (a place to find literature or reference materials) slowly changing? Keep an eye out for more hands-on, innovative learning opportunities at your local library.