Adam Rogers discussed the evolution of the Hunt Library makerspace at North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, NC. The focus at NC State is on innovation, interdisciplinary work and critical and creative thinking. The Hunt Library is a brand-new library; this made it possible for the construction of a makerspace to be part of the design process of the building. Offering a significant opportunity for innovation, NC State has collection strengths in science, engineering, technology, and textiles. A library space that offers access to 3D printing is a natural fit.
From Rogers’ perspective, the maker movement, and the proliferation of hackerspaces suggest the idea of a makerspace. Libraries also have a long-term investment in being creative spaces.
The makerspace that has evolved at the Hunt Library occupies a relatively small physical space. There are several 3D printers and a laser cutter; 3D scanners are in the multimedia room down the hall from the Library. The Library offers 3D printing as a service, charging for materials. This is particularly useful for senior engineering projects, and has gained in popularity as Rogers has reached out to the engineering department for support.
Due to the success of the existing makerspace, plans for a second makerspace are being developed. The second makerspace will be larger, and have more of an open floor plan.
To those who might be interested in launching makerspaces of their own, Rogers suggested starting small, and thinking beyond simply buying a 3D printer. Rogers stressed the importance of reaching out to academic departments to get buy-in for the services offered at the makerspace.
Rogers’ presentation was followed by questions from the audience. The questions ranged from operational concerns such as the issue of ventilation of fumes from the laser cutter and the ability to recycle or biodegrade the plastics used for 3D printing to queries on intellectual property rights of the objects created by 3D printing.
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