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Public Libraries, 3D Printing, FabLabs and Hackers


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Public Libraries, 3D Printing, FabLabs and Hackerspaces

We want to see 3D printing, FabLabs and Hackerspaces become a regular feature--in addition to its other services--at every public library in the country. This is a description of our proposal to create a FabLab in the Fayetteville Free Library and gives a brief introduction to what 3D printing is and how revolutionary it will be for those who are unfamiliar with it.

A FabLab is a fabrication laboratory (or a fabulous laboratory). A hackerspace is just a public library under a different name (although I'm not aware of any hackerspaces that are publicly funded, its time to change that!), it is a place where people gather to share their knowledge and help each other make whatever project they are currently working on.

This video was made in support of Lauren Britton-Smedley's proposal to create a pilot FabLab at the Fayetteville Free Library. This is Lauren's final project for the "Innovation in Public Libraries" class taught by Meg Backus and Thomas Gokey. In this class we look at avant-garde art from the past 60 years (social sculpture, relational aesthetics, institutional critique, interventionist practice, hacker/maker/DIY culture) and use it as a way to rethink what the library of the 21st century could be. We remain committed to the essence of a public library as a genuine commons, as a university of the people, as a place where the knowledge of past generations is preserved for present and future research, in short: as a democracy machine. Our class asks how to translate this essence of public libraries into our current situation. The class is, in some respects, run as a studio where each student proposes and then actually creates a project like this one.

Other students are working on organizing CSA drop offs through the public library network (http://www.nopl.org/adults/csa), creating a habitat garden at the LibraryFarm (http://www.nopl.org/library-farm), redesigning the bus schedules for our local public transit (badly needed), making a library's piano available to the public, and creating a self-watering, self-tweeting network of cacti with an Arduino (so that you don't over-water your cactus).

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