Libraries Are the Future of Manufacturing in the United States

“Public libraries are becoming a one-stop shop for manufacturing in the digital age. Because libraries are investing in machines like 3-D printers, someday soon everyone with access to a public library could become an inventor or create something.

In 2013, around 109 libraries in the U.S. offered makerspaces—also called maker labs or hackspaces—but that number is on the rise and likely much higher today. Some makerspaces consist only of a single 3-D printer, like how the Chattanooga Public Library in Tennessee started, and operate on a shoestring (3-D printers cost around $2,500, not including materials). Other makerspaces can cost $250,000 or more, like the one at the Chicago Public Library. The maker lab there has digital design software, 3-D printers, laser cutters, milling machines, and vinyl cutters.”

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