Academic Library as Makerspace: 3D Printing and Knowledge Creation

Kathlin Ray
Dean, University Libraries and Teaching & Learning Technologies
University of Nevada, Reno

As part of an ongoing plan to transform an underutilized science and engineering library into a lively incubator for student-faculty collaboration and innovation, staff at the University of Nevada, Reno decided to launch a bold initiative: build a 3D scanning and printing “makerspace” and make it available to the entire campus. The service has been wildly successful with 3D printers running 24 hours a day. Furthermore, positioning the library as a place that facilitates knowledge creation beyond text based tools and resources has been a game changer. Students are highly motivated to learn new skills in order to take advantage of new technologies ( gets heavy use); they experiment and iterate quickly to perfect their designs. Even better, students from engineering are now rubbing elbows with people from fields such as biology, computer science, geology, and even art. Like the printing press and the personal computer, 3-D printers have been hailed as a revolutionary device that will ultimately transform the way the world operates.


Last updated:  Monday, April 22nd, 2013