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Chicago library offers free maker space

Posting in Design

Chicago residents will soon be able to print off a document in the Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago and then design and print their own creations on a new 3D printer.

The Chicago Public Library announced that it is opening a maker space in its central library. According to CPL, it's the first large urban library to experiment with a maker space. And while it won't be the only maker space in Chicago, it will be the first free maker space.

The space will provide 3D Printers, two laser cutters, a milling machine, vinyl cutter, and numerous design software programs.

As CPL describes the space, it "offers the public an introduction to technology and equipment which are enabling new forms of personal manufacturing and business opportunities." There will be open hours during which patrons can work with staff members to learn the software and hardware available and workshops for more detail educational opportunities.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer Chicagoans the opportunity to learn firsthand new technologies and skills used in today’s manufacturing at the library,” said Commissioner Brian Bannon, in a press release. “The Maker Lab is the first of several ideas we plan to test over the next few years in the Innovation Lab, as we focus on expanding access to 21st century ideas and information to our communities.”

The library will use a $249,999 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to fund the innovation space. It will be open for six months starting in July, after which the library will "evaluate the project to determine the fit with the Library’s mission and the ability to bring the project, or elements of it, to a wider audience in the neighborhood branches."

Photo: Flickr/chattlibrary

[h/t Fast Company]

— By on June 27, 2013, 11:38 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure