I missed the original article when it came out on Make: Is It Time to Rebuild & Retool Public Libraries and Make “TechShops” but have to say, this idea has me complately jazzed. I’ve often wondered how we could take our spaces and go from a place where people get access to information to getting access to tools so that they can become makers, people who can build things from scratch and not just have to take vendors and dealers’ words for what is possible. And of course this concept comes up against the same old issue “Freedom of the press is for those who own one” These tools, the tools to build tools, are often expensive, especially for one person to own. Maybe there’s a way we could share our tools and spaces…?
Fayetteville Free Library [NY] is taking steps to make that sort of thing happen in their space, an old building that used to be an old furniture factory. They have space, and some grant money, and a few people who really want to make it happen. I’m excited to see where this goes. I’ve always thought that the digital divide wasn’t just where everyone had access to broadband, or a computer, but where everyone had a social community space that was for learning about and using technology. The library is sort of that–it’s totally that in some places–but now the technology is changing. Free printers? How about a 3D printer?