3D printing at the Toronto Public Library

Earlier this week, the Toronto Public library officially opened the doors to its newly minted digital media lab.

The Maker-friendly space is stocked with a plethora of Atmel-powered MakerBot Replicator 3D printers, Atmel-based Arduino boards, hi-def video cameras and audio mixers. 

According to the Torontoist, the digital media lab will be offering a full schedule of programming classes, demonstrations and workshops.

Jane Pyper, the City’s top librarian, said the lab reflects a broader trend toward more experimental methods of learning.

“Libraries have always been about support learning in all its forms,” she told the publication.

Indeed, libraries have provided DVDs, CDs, Internet service, and e-materials as technology and expectations evolved over the years.

“And libraries have been about bringing people together, particularly around equity of access,” she added.

The Torontoist also noted that Eric Boyd, co-founder of StumbleUpon and president of Kensington’s Market’s Hacklab, partnered with the library to facilitate outreach efforts for the new digital media lab.

“Programming is the new literacy,” Boyd explained. “If you want to be a citizen of the modern digital world, you need to have a basic understanding of the way that the machines work. So I’m super excited about something like the learn-to-code workshops.”

To use the library’s 3D printers, patrons are required to complete a 30-minute certification session that covers basic rules and safety. The printer uses PLA plastic filament, with the cost set at five cents a minute – plus a $1 surcharge for each print.

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