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SWON News: SWON Weekly

Wave to the Future

Thursday, February 12, 2015  
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
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Let’s take a moment to confirm healthy skepticism’s good reputation. When some technology like voice commands gets touted as the next big thing and then the next big privacy breach, it can be very good to be undecided.

But being unconvinced doesn’t mean sitting still. Some tech, and some ideas are big enough or interesting enough that they ought to be revisited. These are ideas you put in a tickler file or on your calendar. And you don’t have to fall in love with an idea to decide you should take the next step.

I’m not in love with 3D printers yet. But we think part of SWON’s role is to make technology available to libraries (sound familiar?) so their staff and patrons have the opportunity to discover a technology’s potential. I want to be in this with them, and I don’t want my doubts to stand in the way of their potential.

I delivered SWON’s 3D printer to Dayton Metro Library last week and gave a brief demonstration. That went awry quickly; the printer wasn’t printing. Its nozzle was blocked with plastic, and it took a lot of work with heat and safety pins for three of us to clear it. Not an auspicious start.

Since then, they’ve taken the 3D printer to four branches, where almost 1,300 people have visited it. They’re taking it to eight more branches, too.

Here’s a local news clip. In its intro, an anchor says their reporter “talks with a branch manager about why this technology is considered the wave of the future for libraries, nation-wide.” No no no no. I’m not tying the future of libraries to any tech; certainly not 3D printing. But if this helps open the conversation about the libraries of the future–and the libraries of the present–I’m all for it.

  • Nathan Swartzendruber, SWON Technology Educator

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