Technology Proposal – 3D Printing

3D Printing

           Three Dimensional printing (3D printing), also known as additive manufacturing, is the process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. To begin the process, a virtual model is created of the object to be printed. These models can be designed by utilizing a 3D modeling program or a 3D scanner. The design is then sliced into hundreds or thousands of horizontal layers. Each of these layers is a thin cross section of the desired object. The 3D printer reads each slice and then creates the object. This process is completed by layering material until the object is completed. Each layer is blended into a seamless 3D object. (2016) para.

Literature Review

Why 3D Printing?

As 3D printing is a relatively new technology, most examined literature focuses on implementing this service in libraries. Griffey (2014) states that while libraries have been known as a resource for information, it is not the entirety of library focus. Griffey believes that many individuals have been introduced to technology through computer availability at their local library. Therefore, Griffey is confident that libraries can benefit further from 3D printing through utilization of these printers for various tasks such as sign creation and book stands.

Massis (2014) also shares an excellent overview of 3D printing. He states that the pricing of 3D printing has dropped and is now affordable for library use.  Like Griffey, he believes that the library is an excellent place to offer 3D printing, since it complements current library technology. Many may view 3D printing as an extravagance; however, 3D printing is an additional tool to assist libraries in fulfilling their mission of “…helping the community create knowledge and know itself.” (Massis, 2014, p. 353)   Massis emphasizes that when adding a 3D printer, it is imperative to ensure proper training for both patrons and library staff.

Implementing 3D Printing

Moorefield-Lang (2014) provides a case study of six libraries that have added 3D printers. She believes that while implementing and utilizing 3D printing technology, it is important to comprehend that both successes and challenges will be realized. Many libraries have added 3D printers to makerspaces, an area within the library where patrons can learn through exploration and collaboration. Some makerspaces focus on crafting, while others focus on technology such as 3D printers. Moorefield-Lang provides a useful list of essential inquiries when considering such technology. For example, one such library inquisition should be the staffing of the makerspace housing the 3D printer. She concludes that 3D printing and makerspaces afford patrons the opportunity to interact with technology and potentially resolve real-life problems. Makerspaces confirm that libraries “exist to support knowledge and learning.” (Moorefield-Lang, 2014, p. 592)

Pryor (2014) shares an excellent overview of implementing 3D printing in libraries. The author details the process experienced by Edwardsville, the Southern Illinois University, when adding a 3D printer to their academic library. They evaluated services offered by other libraries such as Fayetteville Free libraries, along with a wide variety of 3D printers in various price ranges. They decided to add a 3D scanner to familiarize individuals concerning the creation of computer based 3D models. The university spent several months attaining knowledge on utilization of the printer and determining the best policies for printer use. One of the most useful aspects of this article is the policy list shared by the author. These policies can be adapted and utilized by both academic and public libraries.

Potential Applications

                There are many ways that 3D printers can be utilized in libraries.  Academic libraries are an excellent location for 3D printer technology to enhance university curriculum. Pryor (2014) states that 3D printers may seem like a new fad or a “toy.” However, 3D printing is a useful tool for the scientific arena; additionally, the utilization of this technology can also prove to be beneficial within the engineering and artistic communities. Students entering many professional fields have embraced 3D printing; therefore, continued exposure to such technology will prove to be advantageous. For example, 3D printing can be utilized to create prosthetics or to recreate historical artifacts. Students will be able to utilize attained knowledge in their future careers.

Many public and school libraries have incorporated 3D printers into makerspaces. With migration to larger digital collections, physical spaces are opening up in libraries to create collaborative spaces around technology. Makerspaces are excellent outreach opportunities, drawing curious visitors into the library. These visitors may decide to utilize other library resources. Additionally, incorporation of 3D printers in a makerspace will benefit students regarding science and technology topics, as well as independent contractors. Most importantly, 3D printers and makerspaces support the library mission to provide “expensive technology tailored to the needs and interest of the community and make it available on a shared basis.” (Colegrove, 2014, p. 3)

Issues and Challenges

              One of the largest issues facing the use of 3D printing is the “issue of intellectual property.” (Massis, 2014, p. 352)  Library patrons may try to reproduce copyrighted designs, and could possibly try to sell these models, violating copyright law. Having 3D scanners available in addition to the 3D printer would facilitate easier copyright violation. Patrons could scan and copy a readily available object. Libraries and patrons need to be aware that the reproduction would be illegal. Library staff should be especially aware of these copyright issues, so patrons can be instructed on proper utilization of the 3D printer.

Ensuring proper training for everyone utilizing 3D printers is paramount. It is imperative for library staff to maintain, trouble shoot, and utilize the machine. Assuring that library staff receives proper training, will better instruct patrons regarding the utilization of the 3D printer. Moofield-Lang (2014) states, “Students and patrons using 3D printers along with other types of  technologies prevalent in maker learning spaces will need to be educated in how to use them.” (Moorfield-Lang, 2014, p. 591)  Librarians can study available research to learn the best techniques for teaching patrons how to utilize 3D printers, while considering what techniques would best fit the needs of their patrons. Additionally, it would be important to provide patrons with resources for those who would like to “…deep-dive into the topic.” (Griffey, 2014, p. 6)

Finally, safety is a major issue when utilizing 3D printers. Many 3D printers were originally intended for industrial use. Unlike libraries, industrial manufacturing is more experienced and cognizant of potential safety issues when operating machinery. While the danger of potential burns from the hot plastic extruded from the machine is obvious, “…the potential risks from the fumes and vapors produced by the printers may not be.” (Lee, 2016, para. 3.) While there is no definitive proof of potential health problems from utilizing 3D printers, to avoid potential dangers, it is prudent to be aware of health and safety risks.


             3D printing is a fascinating topic with many interesting applications. There are a wide variety of 3D printers currently available. When first released, the cost of these printers was much higher; however, they have dramatically dropped in price. These printers may still be too expensive for libraries with small budgets. However, many avenues can be explored to help make purchasing a 3D printer more feasible. The Friends of the Library may finance this purchase or libraries can apply for a grant from a number of sources. The library, where I am employed, will be implementing a makerspace in the coming months. The prospect of learning how to utilize a 3D printer is exciting. As a computer lab assistant who assists patrons, I have been asked to learn various technologies that will be part of the makerspace. This will be an interesting endeavor, because patrons who visit this library enjoy exploring new technology.



Colegrove, T. (2013). Editorial Board Thoughts: Libraries as Makerspace?. Information Technology & Libraries, 32(1), 2-5 4p.

Griffey, J. (2014). Introduction. Library Technology Reports 50, no. 5: 5-7. MasterFILE Elite, EBSCOhost (accessed April 23, 2016).

Lee, M. (2016, March 16). Driving 3D Printing Forward with Safety, Crest of a Crisis or Opportunity? – 3D Printing Industry. Retrieved from

Massis, B. E. (2013). 3D printing and the library. New Library World, 114(7/8), 351-354. doi:10.1108/NLW-03-2013-0030

Moorefield-Lang, H. M. (2014). Makers in the library: case studies of 3D printers and maker spaces in library settings. Library Hi Tech, 32(4), 583-593. doi:10.1108/LHT-06-2014-0056

Pryor, S. s. (2014). Implementing a 3D Printing Service in an Academic Library. Journal Of Library Administration, 54(1), 1-10.

What is 3D printing? How does 3D printing work? (2016). Retrieved April 21, 2016, from

Technology Proposal – 3D Printing

Glowforge is an unreleased 3D laser printer. When completing this shadowing assignment, a coworker mentioned that the library was in the process of purchasing this machine. Previously, I was not familiar with the Glowforge laser printer, so I decided to do some research and attain more information.  According to the Glowforge website, this machine can engrave a wide variety of materials. Individuals can create and print computer designs or hand sketch designs which can then be scanned by the Glowforge machine. The machine is relevant for library use because a Glowforge would be a perfect addition to a maker space. Since this is a brand new machine not yet released, reading information on the company website is an excellent means for librarians to become acquainted with the Glowforge.  As the machines are released, librarians can share their various techniques and methods with others concerning the operation of this machine.

Since maker spaces have become increasingly more popular, libraries are constantly looking for new technology to add to these spaces. Maker spaces help teach patrons a wide variety of STEM and STEAM concepts. They are especially important for children and teens, because attaining additional knowledge concerning these concepts reinforces learning and school curriculum.  Additionally, adults can utilize maker spaces to learn concepts that could prove to be beneficial for career advancement. Glowforges could be utilized to instruct patrons on laser technology, along with various digital design concepts. Smith (2016) states, “Your patrons will need supervision while utilizing this instrument and you will need to train staff on the proper use and cautions given that it does use lasers and requires ventilation.” (Smith, 2016, pg. 38)   Since the town library, who employs me, is in the process of adding one of these machines, my acquired research concerning this device will afford me the opportunity to instruct librarians on proper utilization of a Glowforge machine.


Smith, B. (Ed.). (2016). New product news. Public Libraries, 55(2), 38-39.

RedBox Style Rental Machines

“RedBox” style kiosks have become very popular with library patrons. RedBox is a company that offers recent DVD rentals in self-serve kiosks located inside or outside grocery stores, gas stations and other popular destinations. Movies can be rented at one RedBox kiosk and returned to another location. Many libraries have adapted similar book technological services for patron utilization. Since this technology is relatively new, discussions with librarians who have utilized this protocol would be most advantageous. Since I currently work in a town public library, the knowledge I have acquired concerning this technology affords me the opportunity to suggest the implementation of this technology.

Currently, as of January 2016, there are only six RedBox style book rental kiosks in the country. Encitas, California plans to add a kiosk making it the seventh, costing the city approximately $225,000 dollars. The kiosk would afford patrons free rentals with a county library card.  Accessible 24/7, it would also offer wifi. Most importantly, these kiosks would be especially useful in underserved areas. Avants (2015) quotes Lisa Shaffer, a Councilwoman for Encitas, who states, “It would be great to put something on the eastern side of town to increase access for those who may not be able to get to the Cardiff or main libraries.” (Avants, 2015, para. 17). In smaller towns, where there are monetary constraints, construction of an additional library branch may not be an option. These kiosks would be an excellent solution and welcomed within the community.

Avants, M. (2015, January 30). Encinitas selected for Redbox-style library kiosk. Retrieved from
RedBox Style Rental Machines

Technology Petting Zoo

Patrons can explore various technologies in a designated area of the library entitled a technology petting zoo.  These areas are particularly useful because they afford patrons the opportunity to choose the e-reader or tablet that will best meet their needs.  Utilizing this technology eliminates the need to purchase expensive equipment. Librarians can easily demonstrate the use of various digital technologies.  The library, where I am employed has a technology petting zoo which provides a hands on opportunity to utilize this technology. As a computer lab volunteer, I instruct patrons how to use various devices to access digital resources. However, my research relating to petting zoo technology provided an opportunity to understand how other libraries use and set up this technology.  The knowledge I acquired through research will help further develop the technology petting zoo in my library.

Technology petting zoos are extremely relevant to a library setting. Many individuals visit libraries to check out e-books and audio books and may not be familiar with the numerous e-reader and tablet options. For example, Buljung and Cooper (2013) discuss the technology petting zoo available at the National Defense University Library.  In the article, they state that prior to 2012, students and faculty were able to access library digital resources through government issued laptops and desktops. However, after 2012, the university no longer supplied laptops and digital offerings were accessed via personal devices.  Buljong and Cooper (2013) state, “staff needed to become familiar with the use of Library resources on a variety of devices and operating systems.” (pg. 5)  Many of the university library staff accessed library resources utilizing their own devices. Librarians set up a petting zoo to instruct students on accessing library resources. The petting zoo also afforded librarians the opportunity to learn useful techniques to assist patrons when utilizing electronic resources.


Buljung, B., & Cooper, K. (2013). iPads, Kindles and Tablets, oh my: using a technology petting zoo to teach about downloadable ebooks. Library Hi Tech News, 30(1), 5-7. doi:10.1108/07419051311320913

Technology Petting Zoo


Youtube, founded in 2005, is a very popular social media service, affording individuals the ability to upload and view videos. SinceYoutube has grown in popularity, many organizations, including universities and libraries, have incorporated Youtube channels to upload educational and promotional videos. According to Colburn and Haines (2012), “A Pew study from July 2011 reported that 71 percent of adult Internet users have watched videos online at video sharing sites such as YouTube or Google Video. These percentages have grown steadily from 2006, when only 33 percent of respondents had visited a video sharing site.” (Colburn and Haines, 2012, pg. 6)   Therefore, it would be prudent for libraries to take advantage of this popular service.  Having utilized Youtube in the past, I have never accessed educational videos through this service.  In order to determine how other libraries utilize Youtube,  I recently spent time exploring videos posted by other library websites. In addition, I have explored search options to acquire articles best suited for Youtube utilization in a library setting.  To help promote the library, who employs me, applying my acquired knowledge to suggest content of related Youtube videos would be beneficial.

There are various techniques for libraries to employ Youtube, such as the utilization of video creation to share knowledge with other librarians about topics pertaining to the library. Additionally, Youtube videos can be utilized to promote libraries in a variety of ways. Colburn and Haines (2012) lists an assortment of promotional videos libraries can develop, which include “1. General Promotion/Appreciation; 2. Orientation/Tour; 3. Patron-Generated; 4. Promotion of Service/Collection; 5. Event Documentation; 6. News; and 7. Instruction/Tutorial.” (Haines and Coburn, 2012, pg. 9)  Colburn and Haines also note that it is judicious for libraries to share videos on other social networking platforms utilized by the library and their website. This is an excellent suggestion, since it helps generate interest regarding promoted library videos.

Colburn, S. S., & Haines, L. (2012). Measuring Libraries’ Use of YouTube as a Promotional Tool: An Exploratory Study and Proposed Best Practices. Journal Of Web Librarianship, 6(1), 5-31.


Google Voice

Recently, I read a Facebook post about a librarian who helped a young homeless man set up a Google Voice account. The homeless individual had recently attained freelance work. Although he did not have a permanent phone number, it was essential that he secure a client contact number. The young man was extremely grateful because Google Voice enabled him to pursue permanent employment.

After encountering this post, I considered additional opportunities when libraries could utilize Google Voice. According to the Google support page, “Google Voice gives you one number for all of your phones — a phone number that is tied to you, not to a device or a location. Make and pick up calls, send and get texts, and read and listen to voicemails on your phone, tablet, or computer.”  (Google Voice, n.d., para. 1).  Google Voice can be used to send text messages from a computer, read transcriptions of voice mails, screen calls, and direct calls to any phone. Research on best practices helps librarians understand how to best utilize Google Voice in a library setting. Knowledge obtained from this assignment will afford me the opportunity to suggest to the library where I am employed, how to incorporate Google Voice into services they presently offer.

There are several ways in which Google Voice can be applicable to libraries. Google Voice can be utilized to implement a SMS/Text reference service. Patrons can text reference questions to the library and librarians can respond without sharing personal numbers. American Libraries Magazine states, “Simply enter the recipient’s phone number (which must be able to receive text messages as most all cellphones can), type your message, and click “send.” You can use the service to reply by text message to a voicemail, call, or text. Patrons can respond to your text from their phone, and you can respond from your Google Voice account and browser.”  (Kroski, 2013, para. 21)  Secondly, Google Voice can be utilized to send patron notifications, such as the availability of books placed on hold. However, there is no way to schedule text messages. Each message must be sent manually and individually. This feature presents an inconvenience for larger libraries but is extremely useful for the smaller library.

About Google Voice. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Kroski, E. (2013, February 27). 10 Great Technology Initiatives for Your Library.  American Libraries Magazine. Retrieved from
Google Voice


Snapchat, a smartphone application, is a type of social media. Users can send pictures or short video clips to other users. These pictures and videos, referred to as snaps, can be decorated in a variety of ways. Prior to transmittal, they offer the capability of adding text captions. The videos or pictures disappear after ten second, which makes this service unique. Users can also add photos and videos to a “story” which can be viewed for 24 hours after the story is posted. Hands on experience, exploring the Snapchat application, is the best method for acquiring knowledge about app utilization. Researching best use practices can help librarians understand how to effectively employ snapchat within a library setting. Having completed this assignment, I can now utilize this Snapchat knowledge to create advertising materials in future employment.

Snapchat relates to library work, since it can be employed in advertising programs and services. For example, librarians can take turns creating a “day in the life of a librarian.”  Libraries could send out snaps about new materials or services. However, as the majority of snapchat users are teens and young adults, it would be especially prudent to utilize this app with patrons in this age range. Libraries can develop creative contests for these patrons. Teens and young adults could create Snapchat stories about “…how a book is made, abridged version of a classic novel, etc” (Alfonzo, 2013, para 6.)  or a library service they enjoy; the winner could receive a prize. These types of contests could be run in conjunction with the library’s summer reading program.

Alfonzo, P. (2013, December 09). Snapchat For Your Library. Retrieved from