In 2012, five librarians came together (with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences) and formed Make It @ Your Library, an online resource for local libraries to create maker space projects. The site essentially curates the best of Instructables in terms of projects librarians can engage their users in at the library.
This year they’ve started a pilot program in Illinois where they distribute “maker kits” — including robots, silkscreening kits, and a 3-D printer — to five libraries as part of this effort. One library that was first to receive a 3-D printer is the Fondulac District Library in Peoria, Illinois.
And of course the first thing they tried making (with the files that were pre-loaded on to an SD card for them by Make It @ Your Library) was a 20-sided die. It took them about 40 minutes and it isn’t entirely usable. The base of the die was missing a number and the edges were muddled, so a hardcore gamer would probably not want to use it.
It’s also a little bigger than your standard 20-sided die, but as this was the first effort from the librarians at Fondulac, they want to stress that it might be operator error on their part. But that’s the purpose of this kind of lending program, to let people familiarize themselves with the technology before they commit to buying something expensive and complicated. The project is designed to help libraries decide whether a maker space is right for them and their patrons.
They immediately proceeded to try another pre-loaded file, a dinosaur head.
Fondulac has only had the printer about five days and they’ve already tried out several different things including cookie cutters and fishing lures. They’ll have it for another six weeks before it goes back in to “circulation” for other libraries around the state to try.