3D Printing and Public Policy

Through my work with makerspace resources, I came across this new campaign by the ALA, Progress in the Making: An Introduction to 3D Printing and Public Policy. It is a great tool to frame discussions on the issues around 3D printing such as intellectual property, intellectual freedom, safety concerns, and product liability.

The biggest issue that stimulates the need for public policy on this topic is illustrated here:
“As this technology takes off, a growing number of people will gain the ability to create and market complex and potentially dangerous products” (ALA, 2014, p. 2).

It was interesting to see this article looking towards pharmaceutical product printing at home and the question of whether libraries would be liable for user products printed at a library: The answer is unclear as “courts have yet to interpret product liability in the context of 3D printing” (p. 2).

Lots of issues to look at as 3D printers continue to gain prominence in libraries.

American Library Association (2014, September). Progress in the making: An introduction to 3D printing and public policy, 1. Retrieved from


Robots in the library?!?

NY-DF818_ROBOTS_DV_20140929165906I love the idea of having robots around that curious library users would be able to interact with and learn about how they work. Makerspaces often have a focus on building circuitry and coding that creates outputs and robotics are a more elaborate example of an output. I hope demystifying these machines will allow users to see themselves as capable of innovation in technology.

Robots have a hefty price tag, but Canadian libraries could team up with organizations like First Robotics Canada to have local robotics experts create something that is a little less flashy but is easy for instruction.

I was involved in a robots event last year and it was a treat to see children playing with robots that had been created by real people in the community. Western Canadian Robotics Society and Protospace are great Calgary community groups to get involved with if you’re in Calgary and are interested in robotics.