Libraries Create Hackerspaces

The Maker Station is a 50-foot trailer in the parking lot of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Ind. It’s a hackerspace where do-it-yourselfers share tools and expertise. Credit: TekVenture.

Over the weekend, NPR’s Jon Kalish, who’s also a MAKE special correspondent, did a piece on how libraries are starting to outfit themselves with hacker/makerspaces. This is something we’ve talked about here at MAKE for awhile and it was the subject of one of Phillip Torrone’s Soapbox columns. It’s great to see the idea starting to acquire some serious legs. It has always seemed like a natural to us.

“People in the library world have noticed that 3-D printers would be a fit for libraries or that libraries should be paying attention to this technology and how it develops, because this could be a really big deal,” Backus says. “I’d be completely surprised if we don’t all have 3-D printers in 20 years.”

There’s already a 3D printer, donated by a local computer store, in the Fayetteville Free Library in upstate New York. Not only that, the library was recently awarded $10,000 for the creation of a hackerspace. Lauren Smedley, 29, is the librarian responsible for winning the grant and raising $3,500 in pledges for the hackerspace on the website IndieGoGo.

Libraries Make Room For High-Tech “Hackerspaces”


PT’s Soapbox: Public Libraries, 3D Printing, FabLabs and Hackerspaces

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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