Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Posted by: Melanie Blau McDonald
I was talking with my father last night about our 3D printer loan service to libraries. We talked about what 3D printers do and he got that (he’s an amazing abstract thinker) but what we had trouble with was why would libraries want them? What’s the point of it? I explained that we loan them so that libraries can see if this technology is of interest/use to their specific customers. Many libraries have purchased their own after finding out how strong the interest was in their community. Others found folks were more interested the Cameo Silhouette (programmable cutter for crafting) or other new tools such as children’s robotics kits or augmented reality kits.
The new American Library Association President, Sari Feldman, has launched the Libraries Transform campaign. “Its ultimate goal is to increase funding support for libraries and advance information policy issues in alignment with ALA’s advocacy goals.” (American Libraries column, July-Aug.). In the Libraries Transform Campaign overview, a shift in mindset is sought - libraries need to be recognized as essential and not as an obsolete or ‘nice to have’ service in a community. I couldn’t agree more.
Having visited more than 30 libraries in our region last year, from the large urban metro libraries, to small rural (Appalachia) locations, to community colleges to public schools, each library is a transforming force, because, well, that’s what we do if you’ll let us. “Because transformation is essential to the communities we serve.” It's not just about the 'stuff', the tools, but the professional staff who teach and train everyone wanting such assistance, irrespective of age, background or other potential obstacles.
If you have doubts about this, just give me a call and an hour or two!
In addition to the links above, which give more information about the campaign, here is a video about it: