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Are Maker Spaces the Future of Public Libraries?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the yes-please dept.

Hardware 158

misterbarnacles writes "Shareable has an interview with librarian Lauren Britton Smedley from the Fayetteville Free Library, which is adding a Fab Lab to its community offerings. She said, 'I think that libraries are really centers for knowledge exchange, and a Fab Lab fits perfectly into something like that. This idea that libraries are a place where the books live, and you go to find a book, and that’s all it is, I think is really starting to shift. Libraries are a place for social transformation. They’re a place that you can go to get computer access, or access to technology that you can’t get anywhere else, and access to people. ... At the Fab Lab, the impetus behind the whole thing was to create a center for knowledge exchange where we’re not just offering Intro to Word or Intro to Excel — that we can offer Intro to Computer Programming, or Digital Fabrication — these skills that are really important in the STEM fields, and we can push that information out for free. And how do we do that? By getting people in the community who know that stuff to come in and share what they know.'"

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is frosty piss the future of beverages? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38127908)

inquiring minds want to know!

Re:is frosty piss the future of beverages? (4, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | about 2 years ago | (#38128358)

Come on now, we've had Bud for decades.

Until the Lawyers Show Up (0)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 years ago | (#38127976)

Than it's back to books only.

Re:Until the Lawyers Show Up (5, Funny)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 years ago | (#38127992)

Maybe you need to read some books. It is then not than. Get a clue.

Re:Until the Lawyers Show Up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128182)

Do spelling errors bother you enough to bother replying?

You likely suffer from OCPD. Please get help and stop annoying everyone else with your pedantic complaints.

Re:Until the Lawyers Show Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128224)

From a previous post of yours: "You just don't one day come up with an idea for a good and then build a fully automatd assembly line."

So you spell automated 'automatd', and a "good" what... forgetful are you?

Let the people post thoughts without fear of an *** like you hovering around looking for grammatical errors.

Re:Until the Lawyers Show Up (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128266)

You idiot. He was replying to himself. Compare the usernames, blind man.

trout007 trolled you well.

Re:Until the Lawyers Show Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128288)

you trolled yourself well as well, Anonymous Coward

Re:Until the Lawyers Show Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128290)

and a "good" what... forgetful are you?

"Good" in that instance is being used as a noun. Brain dead are you?

Re:Until the Lawyers Show Up (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128298)

So you spent enough time to dig through the guys post history to find a spelling error but didn't pay close enough attention to realize that the poster you were defending and the grammar nazi who was attacking him were in fact the same person?

Re:Until the Lawyers Show Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128766)

Looks like he has more problems than just OCPD.

Re:Until the Lawyers Show Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128916)

So you spent enough time to dig through the guys post history to find a spelling error but didn't pay close enough attention to realize that the poster you were defending and the grammar nazi who was attacking him were in fact the same person?

Who's to say the AC isn't the same person too? It's so meta!

Re:Until the Lawyers Show Up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128516)

What is it with Americans and the misuse of the words 'then', 'than' and 'that' nowadays? I've lost count of the number of times I've read "It's more.... THAT" and "so and so is better... THEN".

It's MORE THAN. As simple as that. We even have a credit card company in the U.K. named "MORE THAN", just to remind Americans...

I cringe every time I see a sentence which has 'better' or 'more' or a similar word near the start, I'm just waiting for the 'THEN' to appear, or 'THAT', and then I just want to scream. Idiots are destroying our language and making it bloody difficult to read.

Re:Until the Lawyers Show Up (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 2 years ago | (#38128816)

Hey, now, credit where credit's due. We're not the ones that decided to spell grey, centre, theatre, and myriad other words in a way that's non-intuitive. Not to mention the numerous grammatical oddities that exist in British English and not American English.

Re:Until the Lawyers Show Up (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130808)

This is an excellent point. The American spellings of many words are much more sensible, and much less French, with extra letters that serve no purpose. Just look at the British spelling of "maneuver" for instance: "manoeuvre". WTF? What do you need three vowels in a row for? The -e endings also make no sense, as that's not how the words are pronounced.

American English isn't perfect, but it's done a good job of cleaning up a lot of the nonsense in British English, most of which is inherited from the way Anglo-Saxon was corrupted by Norman French. English would be a much more sensible and regular language if it weren't for the Normans.

Money (4, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about 2 years ago | (#38128000)

Not with the budget cuts.

Libraries at their core.... (4, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 2 years ago | (#38128008)

Libraries at their core are places where knowledge and learning could be shared. Why does that have to be limited to distribution via dead trees? I for one think this is a brilliant idea.

Re:Libraries at their core.... (5, Informative)

uniquename72 (1169497) | about 2 years ago | (#38128176)

This idea that libraries are a place where the books live, and you go to find a book, and that’s all it is, I think is really starting to shift.

"Starting" to shift? Libraries haven't been about books in at least 10 years (since I became a librarian). In fact, the "it's not about books" thing was a long-tired cliche even then.

Re:Libraries at their core.... (4, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#38128306)

I'll say it's not about the books. My local library has 54 SF books, and not an Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, or Bova in the bunch.

Re:Libraries at their core.... (2)

NewWorldDan (899800) | about 2 years ago | (#38129006)

My local has a full section of vampire romance, so I guess it's staying current with the times. Which I guess is the challenge for libraries these days, staying current with the times. Their reference sections are pretty much obsolete thanks to the internet. If digital books ever really become lendable, then things will really change.

Back to the subject at hand, I don't know that a maker space is a great fit for a library. It appeals to (I think) a very small segment of the population. It depends a bit on what people are thinking of making. Personally, I make furniture and software, and my basement is my workshop for both. The software studio doesn't need a community space, and the woodworking isn't suitable for the public either. 50% of time in the woodshop is spent on cleaning and maintenance (sharpening, calibration, etc.). A scrapbooking space at the library would probably draw 10 times as many users.

Re:Libraries at their core.... (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#38129268)

My local library has 54 SF books, and not an Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, or Bova in the bunch.

Sounds like a good SF collection. Leave out all the old, overrated guys, and focus on the good stuff. You could easily have an excellent sci-fi collection of 54 books without having a single old, white male author among them.

Re:Libraries at their core.... (5, Insightful)

daath93 (1356187) | about 2 years ago | (#38129506)

You could easily have an excellent sci-fi collection of 54 books without having a single old, white male author among them.

Yes, we should stop publishing white male authors until blacks and hispanics have decided they want to write sci-fi as much as white males. How far are we going to cary this farce of social injustice before we start to realize that blacks and hispanics are just interested in different crap than we are (on average)? Its not a CRIME to have different culteral priorities and interests.

Re:Libraries at their core.... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#38130236)

Yes, we should stop publishing white male authors until blacks and hispanics have decided they want to write sci-fi as much as white males.

Did I say any of that? I was much more thinking about all the great female, young, and non-white sci-fi writers that I was about "black and hispanics".

And how long have you believed that "blacks and hispanics" are "just interested in different crap than we are"? And just who do you mean by "we"?

Its not a CRIME to have different culteral priorities and interests.

Who said anything about "crime"? You seem to have some issues that don't have anything to do with the topic at hand.

I'm surprised you didn't start any of your sentences with, "I'm not a racist, but...".

Re:Libraries at their core.... (1)

smudj (1983234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130760)

You're the one that brought race into it..."old, white male"

Re:Libraries at their core.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38129534)

So do you have any recommendations? :)

Re:Libraries at their core.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38130824)

You could easily have an excellent sci-fi collection of 54 books without having a single old, white male author among them.

I'll bite.

I'm Indian (as in from the subcontinent, not Columbus fibbing to his crew), and I think that while an excellent SF collection of 54 books is possible without said white, male authors, it's an incomplete library that doesn't have them. It's also technically possible to have an English literature section without Shakespeare, or a Bengali literature section without Tagore, but missing authors as historically influential as these is doing a disservice to the readership.

Take your guilt elsewhere; I do mind racism and sexism, but I don't mind interesting stories from imaginative authors, no matter what the colour of their skin or the shape of their genitalia. Isn't that the whole point of egalitarianism?

Re:Libraries at their core.... (2)

ThorGod (456163) | about 2 years ago | (#38128324)

"Starting" to shift? Libraries haven't been about books in at least 10 years (since I became a librarian). In fact, the "it's not about books" thing was a long-tired cliche even then.

Say that to my overdue book fees :) (whoops!)

Re:Libraries at their core.... (1, Redundant)

hedwards (940851) | about 2 years ago | (#38128842)

Better move to a more literate part of the country. Around here our libraries have huge numbers of books. They do offer other services as well, like computers, DVDs and seminars, but the vast majority of the space is dedicated to books.

Re:Libraries at their core.... (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#38129032)

"Starting" to shift? Libraries haven't been about books in at least 10 years (since I became a librarian). In fact, the "it's not about books" thing was a long-tired cliche even then.

I think its a physical remodel thing, it takes awhile to remodel, so that what they wanna do reflects the building layout. The recently completed remodel of our local public library just dropped below 50% of floor space devoted to books. When I was a kid it was between 50 and 75 percent. About 10% kids play and meeting and reading area next to the childrens library desk (beanbags, etc), also a separate glass walled "teen area" with teen books and scheduled book readings and book discussion groups. Study areas have imploded down to less than 10%, too many homeless were living in the study desks, I donno where they go now. Computers and computer area has exploded to at least 10%, must be two dozen virus, worm, and keylogger-laden windows PCs there slowly chugging away, I wouldn't touch those machines with a ten foot pole, or at least without an elaborate forensics kit. About 10% current and recent magazines and newspapers, note they subscribe to about 25 national and world daily newspapers. About 10% non-traditional library media, we're a depository library for genealogical microfilm and have rows of readers and printers to use it, well over a hundred years of local newspaper on microfiche, etc. About 10% DVDs, audiobooks, music CDs, and ancient 1980s 1990s computer cds/dvds (shareware, multimedia shovelware, etc). About 10% meeting spaces ranging from small office like collaboration areas to a 100 or so person meeting hall. That leaves about 30% remaining for old fashioned physical paper books. Still the largest area by far, but a far cry from the old library.

Re:Libraries at their core.... (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#38130220)

I'm sure some googling could reveal this, but I figure you'd be able to answer this simply... is microfiche still around? You mentioned it here but I had figured all that material had long been scanned into digital storage and made searchable.

I love your premis. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128218)

My local library is struggling for funds. Buying dead trees with ideas printed on them is out of the question - the budget is so restricted that library hours are being cut back constantly. I love my library and I support it every that I can - aside from volunteering because my state Georgia is run by ignorant, moronic, stupid, asinine, fucked up,

You see, if I want to volunteer at my county library [cobbcat.org] I have to state that I have never wanted to over-throw the US government because my idiotic, moronic, dipshit, redneck, ignorant, asshole, stupid, legislature says that I need to fill out this form (Sedition and Subversive Activities Questionnaire) [cobbcat.org] !

I'd like to say, that we in the State of Georgia in the US of A (not to be confused with Georgia the country - for my ignorant fellow Americans) are stupid, ignorant, Bible thumping morons!

See, I can't fill it out and say "No" because I want to control the World and my first action as Emperor of the World is to condemn every Goddamn Georgia (US) legislator who voted for that bill to hard labor - actually any labor considering that they're all pampered assholes - and education outside of their moronic World view.

Goddamn it! I Really Hate the South sometimes!!

Re:I love your premis. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128284)

Here is a free tip: you will never control a company, let alone the world, if you are unwilling to lie.

Re:I love your premis. (3, Informative)

Migraineman (632203) | about 2 years ago | (#38128986)

No, no, no. The system is designed to punish those who oppose it. You need to change your public-facing statements such that you are in compliance with the system.

I want to control the World and my first action once elected as Emperor of the World is to prosecute every Goddamn Georgia (US) legislator who violated his oath of office to the fullest extent of the law.

Take a hint from Miranda - anything you say can and will be used against you. Why would you provide your opponents with ammunition?

Re:I love your premis. (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#38129332)

the overthrow of the government of the United States or of the government of the state of Georgia by force or violence?

Ah you are misquoting the "force or violence" makes it a bit simpler.

So, I can volunteer at your library as long as I've only worked to overthrow my own (non-GA) state and city... great, I think?

Have you ever been convicted or are any charges now pending against you, by Federal, State or other law enforcing authority, for any violation of any federal law, state law, county or municipal law, regulation, or ordinance? If the answer to (a) is “Yes”, state the reason convicted, the date convicted, and the place where convicted

Can't google answer that for me? I literally don't know. This is easier if you've only been an adult for a couple years, but I got a speeding ticket sometime in the 90s and I donno where the courthouse was in the 90s for that sleeply little 'burb, probably haven't even thought about it in over a decade. I've got a municipal loitering ticket (wtf you have an ashtray, how can you ticket somebody that stands there and that uses it?). I've got a couple parking tickets and yes they are over $35.

Re:I love your premis. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38129706)

Absolutely! By all means, answer "No" to all of the questions and play along with their stupid, ignorant, idiocy! Please do!

Play along with those morons - the Georgia (USA) State Legislature! Reinforce their moronic behavior!

Let me say one last time: The state of Georgia - the home of Newt Gingrich - is a bunch of ignorant, Bible thumbing, dipshit, fucking, morans and God created US this way!

We're Republican and Prowd of IT!!!

Re:I love your premis. (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#38129928)

Absolutely! By all means, answer "No" to all of the questions and play along with their stupid, ignorant, idiocy! Please do!

Noooo, my entire point is that as I recall, the answer is yes, but they want incredibly detailed information that is impossible to provide. "please transcribe The Pentagon Papers into this two line blank space".

Let me say one last time: The state of Georgia - the home of Newt Gingrich - is a bunch of ignorant, Bible thumbing, dipshit, fucking, morans and God created US this way!

I was an average vaguely centrist republican before the BBQ crowd took over, financial conservative and extremely social liberal, RINO type of guy. I even considered, briefly, running for office. BBQ = Bible-thumpers, Bigots, and Quislings (Q's of the 1%ers, the multinational corporations, etc), all that's left of the once proud R party. We really weren't that bad as a group, in ye olden days, before our village idiots took us over from within. I donno how that happened, really. The process of radicalization is kind of like making sausage, maybe I'm better off it I don't watch it? It seemed to go from normal middle class suburban people to fringe neonazi radicals suddenly, like in the late 90s or so. Maybe when it happened, depends where you live. I don't think I was the one who changed, I'm "older" and set in my ways.

Re:I love your premis. (1)

joelsherrill (132624) | about 2 years ago | (#38129840)

I was not as surprised by the first questions as I was that they wanted to know about traffic violations with a find greater than $35. How long has it been since any traffic violation cost less than $35?

Re:I love your premis. (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about 2 years ago | (#38130458)

At first glance I thought your subject was "I love your penis".

I'm glad you're from Georgia. We rednecks in Alabama need folks like you to make us look better.

Re:Libraries at their core.... (2, Insightful)

Myself (57572) | about 2 years ago | (#38128280)

It's a valuable resource to a community, but so are parks and swimming pools. The library doesn't have those things attached to it, either, for obvious reasons of indoor air quality and such.

For years, I've described i3 Detroit [i3detroit.com] specifically, and hackerspaces/makerspaces in general, as being "something like a library, but for beings with opposable thumbs in addition to eyes". Learning and making and tinkering is in our nature, and I think it enhances us as humans to exercise these abilities. The word "literacy" needs an analog for "skilled with tools and understanding of mechanical things", so we can talk about it.

I think everyone should have access to such a space, just like access to a library. But should they be under the same roof? No, I don't think so. My personal feeling is that libraries as dead-tree collections are obsolete, and that we should not be talking about expansion, but complete conversion. Librarians are cool and library science is interesting, but paper artifacts don't need to live in every community. Let's take the spirit of learning and access and freedom, which libraries embody, and give it new life with the valuable things that every-day people don't have in their homes, like books once were.

Re:Libraries at their core.... (2)

linatux (63153) | about 2 years ago | (#38129020)

Most books you only want to read once. Borrowing from a library is ideal.
Specialist technical books, rare books, etc are too expensive for most people to buy. A library means you have the opportunity to enjoy & learn from them.

Most people probably can't justify owning a fabricator, but might love the chance to 'borrow' one. Of course, if it works well for the library, the local copy-shop will probably run a higher-spec model & do it cheaper.

Re:Libraries at their core.... (2)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#38129442)

Specialist technical books, rare books, etc are too expensive for most people to buy. A library means you have the opportunity to enjoy & learn from them.

Not where I live. Nothing beyond high school level WRT to tech books. Hundreds of new paperback vampire chick and zombie escape paperbacks, but all they've got for automotive repair, for example, is the '73 Dodge Dart Chilton manual. That's about it. You don't wanna know what I found in the computer section, its unspeakable. Lets just say I could relive my childhood pretty well, and I'm not young (as you can see by my /. UID).

Oddly enough they've got plenty of dough, being a rich suburb. Stacks of new paperbacks, open long hours, well/heavily staffed, clean well lit and well maintained, tons of new DVDs and music cds, the internet access computers aren't too awful, if you could clear the virii keyloggers and worms off them.

They just don't see their place as providing technical books to "the public". Never have, really. I wish I had a big nearby university library to browse in.

Re:Libraries at their core.... (2)

eh2o (471262) | about 2 years ago | (#38129042)

There are already "tool lending libraries" in many cities (well at least they are in several cities near where I live), they are managed by the library system and allow residents to check out all sorts of things including drills, nailguns, post-hole diggers, etc. There are a great many tools that a person might benefit from using but would be wasteful to outright buy.

A 3D printer, shopbot or CNC milling machine would be the equivalent of a reference section in the tool library--big tools you can use on site but can't take home. Its a fairly logical extension, although in practice the amount of skill required to use these tools properly and successfully isn't trivial and it remains to be seen how much benefit they could actually provide to the general public. Makerspaces tend to be frequented by rather geeky folk.

Re:Libraries at their core.... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130900)

I think it's a terrible idea, because who's going to pay for it? Basically, you're talking about setting up a prototyping facility or machine shop. These facilities aren't cheap: the equipment is expensive, plus it needs to be maintained and cared for or else it becomes junk. There's a reason it's expensive to get anything done at a machine shop; it costs that much to keep the place in order. Let morons from the general public wander in there and start playing with things and the equipment will get broken or worn out very quickly. Worse, what if someone hurts themselves? Now you have a giant lawsuit on the library's hands for not making it safe enough for children to play with.

Can you imagine a woodworking shop where just anyone could come in and use a table saw, with no training whatsoever? There'd be severed fingers all over the place. Sure, you could probably get half or maybe even 75% of the people to sit through a training video and be really careful and never hurt themselves, but all it takes is one idiot getting his hand too close to the blade, not using the blade guard, or getting hit with kickback (where a piece of wood gets flung back at the user at the speed of the blade's outer circumference), and suddenly the whole place has to shut down for a lawsuit.

Any other manufacturing equipment isn't much different from the typical table saw, whether it's a CNC router or a milling machine. It's easy to get fingers in the spinning bit, and it's easy to have debris fly into your face and into your eyes. (Yes, goggles help prevent this, but you're talking about a place open to the general public--lots of them won't bother to wear them, just like many people absolutely refuse to wear hearing protection when they're around loud noises like power tools, rock concerts, or shooting ranges.)

Even if all this weren't a factor, there's the whole care and maintenance of the machines bit. I have a CNC router on my desk; the rails and ballscrews have to be lubricated from time to time, and the bits are extremely small and fragile, and very expensive to replace. It's easy to break them by milling material with an excessive feed rate. Who's going to pay for that in a public library? Libraries aren't funded by user fees, only late charges and presumably taxes.

If someone wants to start a small business making these machines available to the general public, that sounds like a fine idea (though I seriously question how you're going to be profitable). But the cost to users won't be that cheap, since you'll have to finance the machines themselves, plus charge somehow for the consumables (raw stock plus tooling, like milling bits), plus you'll have to have full-time staff around to hand-hold the users and make sure they don't break stuff. Good luck with that.

no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128012)

no

Ask a silly question in the title ... (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#38128054)

I'm sure this is a useful program put together by well-meaning people. I'm reasonably certain that it's a net benefit for the patrons of the Fayetteville Free Library. But none of that remotely leads to the conclusion that "maker spaces" or "fab labs" are the future of public libraries. It just leads to the conclusion that it may be a program that's worth trying.

My general rule, whenever a 'news' story has a question in the title, is that the answer to the question is almost always "No". For instance, "Steve Jobs revered as the Second Coming?" or "Can we improve web performance by using a product from some obscure tech company?".

Re:Ask a silly question in the title ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128166)

Well, fine, then. I'll build my own makerspace/library! With blackjack! And hookers!

Re:Ask a silly question in the title ... (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#38128240)

What else would you expect from the director of a "Transliteracy" department?

The interviewer in TFA asks what "Transliteracy" (yes browser I know that isn't a word) means, and the director's response was basically "critical thinking... but for computers!" We do not need another meaningless buzzword. Really, "critical thinking" sums up exactly what that word means, and it does so concisely, clearly, and in a way anyone who is literate can understand. Unlike "transliteracy." Although inventing a new word is a really good way to create a job for yourself...

Re:Ask a silly question in the title ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128498)

What else would you expect from the director of a "Transliteracy" department?

Books for trannys who like to read?

Transliteracy (1)

Pope (17780) | about 2 years ago | (#38128676)

it's like a taint for the mind!

Re:Ask a silly question in the title ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38129408)

Good idea. I'm going to develop "job transmanagement"

Re:Ask a silly question in the title ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128256)

Slashdot = stagnated

This is typical slashdot today. Retarded questions, Apple PR pieces, blatent trolls.
Want 900 comments? Unity vs. Gnome-shell

The signal to noise ratio is appalling. I actually miss when slashdot was really geeky, and fapped over linux.

Re:Ask a silly question in the title ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38129004)

Slashdot has always had stories like this, has always been right to have them, and has always had morons like you pining for some lost Golden Age that never existed.

The signal-to-noise ratio is primarily caused by your whining.

Re:Ask a silly question in the title ... (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#38129252)

Actually, the stupid headline question here came from TFA.

Re:Ask a silly question in the title ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128420)

Actually the main reason is because libraries are about welfare to poor people now. Is a poor person likely to use this? No, they are not, therefore libraries will not want it.

Re:Ask a silly question in the title ... (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | about 2 years ago | (#38128888)

Actually, around here the libraries are mostly used by the well off. Or at least those are the people I see when I go to the library. The poor people don't seem to be interested in literature or the resources that the library has available. With the possible exception of the computers and a few workshops. But those things are also available from other places.

When it comes to government services you tend to get what your officials demand. If they demand low quality fly by night services that's what you get. If they demand high quality services and provide funding that's what you tend to get. Especially if you have an active citizenry that demands it.

Are car repairs the future of bakeries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128652)

I hope in the future I will still be able to go to a library and borrow a book. When I need to make myself a toothbrush I will go a copy shop.

Neat. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128094)

I want a metal brake, CNC mill, CNC lathe, cutting laser, water jet cutter, and TIG welding outfit at my library.

Re:Neat. (1)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#38128148)

Perhaps try your local community college?

Some of that might even be available at your local high school.

Re:Neat. (2)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#38129604)

Perhaps try your local community college?

I've never understood this about the "makerspace" movement. So, basically, you want to create an unaccredited community college night school, but you think you can do it for everyone for free or at least cheaper than my local CC? My local CC has open lab "classes" for welding, machining, and I believe electronics and they are NOT free nor have they ever been free, that just doesn't work economically. All divisions have always had "independent study" class for any subject they don't outright have "open lab time" class, so if you can convince exactly one instructor/adviser that you are not a hazard to yourself or fellow students, you're golden. They've got decades of experience doing exactly what a makerspace seems to want to start to do. And the non-profit CC charges somewhat under $200 a quarter to do it, which is actually pretty decent compared to some makerspaces asking over $100/month. And they've got new equipment, not makerspace castoffs. They've already got multiple clubs meeting there, in some cases in the open labs, two ham radio clubs and two car clubs that I formally know of, so its not like there's no one to hang out with.

So, other than a trendy marketing campaign and endless free publicity, what exactly do makerspaces have going for them that I can't get at the CC?

Re:Neat. (2)

gmhowell (26755) | about 2 years ago | (#38130512)

So, other than a trendy marketing campaign and endless free publicity, what exactly do makerspaces have going for them that I can't get at the CC?

Hipster douchebags. Tons and tons of hipster douchebags.

Hell, I burned more than $200 worth of consumables in each of the welding classes I took at my CC (probably why it cost more than $200).

Re:Neat. (1)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | about 2 years ago | (#38128246)

Second this. Oddly, a lot of these maker spaces seem to avoid the kinds of tools one would find in a conventional wood or metal-shop.

But to the larger question - libraries are going to need more active support and protection to survive much into this new century. Baltimore's public libraries have been consolidating for years.

Re:Neat. (2)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#38129504)

I want a metal brake, CNC mill, CNC lathe, cutting laser, water jet cutter, and TIG welding outfit at my library.

My community college vocational ed building is next door to it's library... and its got all that goodness, just sign up to audit a class. Plus you get a free instructor. Literally, I'm not kidding, $174 for 4 months access to the welding lab two nights a week open lab hours, do whatever you want at your own pace in the open lab, although if you do their curriculum at their recommended rate and the instructor approves your work, you can earn a cert every quarter eventually leading to an associates degree in welding. I've been meaning to do this for over a quarter century now. I taught myself soldering and brazing and some stick welding decades ago, always wanted to do TIG. Also the nurse/medical voc tech school is next door, if you're lonely...

I think they are confusing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128106)

a Library with a University or College, which a library is part of.

For that matter whey not add a chem lab, and a wood shop, and a fab shop, and welding and ...

Re:I think they are confusing (1)

falzer (224563) | about 2 years ago | (#38128154)

Because Arduinos and plastic printers are enough for everyone.

Re:I think they are confusing (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#38128270)

If it's at a University they already have maker spaces in the STEM departments.

When I was an undergrad I had a intersession break that was supposed to be independent study - eventually I ended up doing a project in a machine lab with the help of a prof I found hanging out in the lab. Built a simple game machine in about 6 weeks. It was the most fun I've had in my life. Learned a crapload too.

Close By (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | about 2 years ago | (#38128160)

Damn, 19 miles from me; I might have to check it out.

This is right on. (2)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 2 years ago | (#38128178)

As material printers and CNC devices become ubiquitous, people will want to be able to access designs and plans of things that they can make. Libraries are an ideal source of these designs and plans.

This is something the average end-user can understand.

Re:This is right on. (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#38128466)

As material printers and CNC devices become ubiquitous, people will want to be able to access designs and plans of things that they can make. Libraries are an ideal source of these designs and plans.

The Internet is an ideal source for those plans and designs. Nothing says that a library is the only access to the Internet.

There is no reason that a library has to be all things to all people. It has a function: a repository of knowledge in many different forms for societal history. That's not the same as "a place to play with high-tech toys" or "to build stuff".

Please libraries, keep doing your intended function well and stay out of the "societal change" business. That's not your job.

Re:This is right on. (2)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#38128674)

I would imagine that that technology would fit in better at ones local community college or tech school.

The community college or tech school could have a side business that allows supervised access to the technology for a price.

Re:This is right on. (2)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#38129752)

The community college or tech school could have a side business that allows supervised access to the technology for a price.

They almost certainly already do.

Where I live, several programs are operated as open lab, do 15 "quests" assigned by the instructor at your own pace whenever the lab is open, earn a cert, repeat until you have a degree (in welding, and the non-book half of the automotive degree).

Anyone can audit any class as long as they convince the instructor and there's no waiting list (probably OK for at least 90% of classes).

All divisions have independent study class, if you wanna do your own AS/400 thing and they've got the gear, they'll assign an instructor to baby sit you and possibly even help, if you'll pay your tuition (about $200 per quarter). I know for a fact their CCNA-bootcamp gear was hired out by a bunch of guys working on their CCNP using that strategy on the weekends because I already had my CCNP and they wanted advice from me, I donno how it all turned out, but sounded like a good plan. I also know a guy who built a CO2 laser power supply this way. And another guy who built a ham radio 10 GHz transverter (a man after my own heart I'm sure). The school has/had a HP spectrum analyzer/tracking oscillator/phase noise analysis rig with rubidium stabilized source worth something like 1/2 the cost of my house, other than at the CC I have no idea how to even access that kind of gear without getting a job in the field. Even renting from one of the rental operations would be impossible.

Libraries and churchs (5, Interesting)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#38128208)

I'm not religious at all, I don't buy into it, however the positive side of religion is as a community center, a gathering places for people to come together and in that sense I support the idea.
However I have often thought that libraries could be (and are) the same thing on a higher level, a community center laced with science, knowledge and education, (and fiction too) access for all and a saner, kinder place to gather.
A church of the geek/nerd as it were.
I have many fond memories of my local library, and anything that keeps them around is welcome, there should always be some place for us "non-believers" to gather.

Re:Libraries and churchs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128316)

I'd like to see this myself. I have seen both churches and synagogues that have metal shops, woodworking facilities, multiple practice rooms, a music studio, libraries, Internet cafes, gymnasiums, all kinds of things. It definitely wouldn't hurt a community to have something like this. At least it would being people together in this increasingly divided country.

Re:Libraries and churchs (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#38128378)

the positive side of religion is as a community center, a gathering places for people to come together and in that sense I support the idea. However I have often thought that libraries could be (and are) the same thing on a higher level, a community center laced with science, knowledge and education, (and fiction too) access for all and a saner, kinder place to gather.

Religious temples aren't usually places where people go to never interact with anyone other than an usher (I wouldn't consider a librarian to be anything else in most cases). Libraries, even at their most busy, are more like meditation gardens, where everyone tries to be quiet and pretend the other people aren't there. There's no community, no familial bonding or corporate learning. Certainly no communal worship.

Re:Libraries and churchs (1)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#38128604)

They are in my area, large areas full of children being read stories, group meeting spaces, other large open areas where people interact but quietly.
True community centers.

A church has all of the above as well, just directed at religion foremost.

It's sad you don't have that, or maybe just can't see it.

Re:Libraries and churchs (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#38128642)

Libraries, even at their most busy, are more like meditation gardens, where everyone tries to be quiet and pretend the other people aren't there. There's no community, no familial bonding or corporate learning. Certainly no communal worship.

you've missed the last ten years of "library science", then.

The library cannot be just a library, it must be a communal meeting center and day care and internet service provider and whatever social function is popular in an area. If an area has a need, the library will try to fulfill it. In our fine city, the public library is a place for kids to get free lunches during the summer. Not just poor kids, any kid that walks through the door will be fed for free. Well, at taxpayer expense, I should say.

You see that in the librarian's quote: "Libraries are a place for social transformation."

Maybe that's a side effect of librarians thinking that libraries are becoming obsolete because of the Internet and they have to create some new market for their services. Maybe that's human nature trying to make a mundane part of life more excititing. Maybe being a center for information isn't enough anymore. "Social transformation" is the requirement.

I saw this article in the latest Make asking this question. I immediately thought "oh, please God, no".

Re:Libraries and churchs (2)

swb (14022) | about 2 years ago | (#38129262)

Like schools, libraries are have bought into the notion that their "mission" can't be accomplished without a social services component, because all members of the community have to be brought up to the same level.

And this is where mission creep and budget creep starts happening.

Re:Libraries and churchs (3, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#38129954)

Like schools, libraries are have bought into the notion that their "mission" can't be accomplished without a social services component, because all members of the community have to be brought up to the same level.

A library's mission is to promote the spreading of knowledge.

Now, traditionally, say, just over a decade ago, this was done via books. Books of all kinds. Fiction counts too - even though they're read for enjoyment, that enjoyment may lead others to new conclusions. And nevermind the archives of newspapers and access to many journals of many fields.

With the spread of the Internet, libraries had to become ISPs as well, because it's a vital source of knowledge. And a librarian is skilled enough to help knowledge-seekers decide if something on the Internet is possibly truthful. It's also why libraries try not to be judgemental, either.

Many libraries also hold roundtables where authors and experts come in and give presentations - again, spreading knowledge. And the kid-reading-time helps inspire kids to seek out knowledge.

A maker space is a good way to spread hands-on knowledge - the book on the shelf can do so much, now take that knowledge and apply it.

A library's goal is to provide knowledge to those who seek it, regardless of means. They're often derided these days by people who think the internet is the be-all end-all of everything (usually by people of means who can buy the same books). Or perhaps by scared people of means who also want to keep the poor in their place - how dare they try to improve their lot and possibly compete.

Re:Libraries and churchs (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#38130438)

A library's goal is to provide knowledge to those who seek it, regardless of means.

Regardless of means does not mean regardless of type.

"What does it feel like to take a hit of cocaine?" is not a type of knowledge that a library is intended to provide. If you are going to argue that you mean "legal knowledge", then let's change that to "what does it feel like to kick a winning goal at a soccer match?".

That points out the difference between "book larning" (for a very very broad definition of "book") and physical practice.

If you think that "physical learning" is a library's intended purpose, then why don't libraries have soccer fields attached? And then expand that to football (oblong ball) fields. And basketball courts. And handball courts. And automotive shops. And chemistry labs. And racketball... well, I think you get the point, I hope.

Physical practice in how to build something is NOT the purpose of a library, and it never has been. "Here's the information, go out and use it" is. It has nothing to do with the means of the patron.

Or perhaps by scared people of means who also want to keep the poor in their place - how dare they try to improve their lot and possibly compete.

If you are going to put words in other peoples' mouths, then you aren't really looking for a discussion, are you?

Not expanding the public library into a place for every kind of activity anyone might possibly want to engage in has nothing to do with "keep the poor in their place". It has to do with intended function and reasonable goals. Not wanting fully-functional welding and machine shops at every public library doesn't mean that public facilities like those don't have a place or function, somewhere. Even feeding poor kids whose parents cannot afford to has a place, but it isn't the library.

Personally, I'd love to have a machine shop I could rent time in (and no, I don't expect it to be free, and I don't expect the taxpayer to pay the rent, because the use would be for a more limited audience and the costs for maintenance would be much higher) to do simple things. I just don't think the library is where it belongs. There is no argument that doesn't start from incorrect assumptions that results in a requirement that it be at the library.

The argument that "libraries are supposed to spread knowledge and anything they do that furthers that is good" is erronious. It leads to nonsense like "well, a well rested person learns better, so let's provide cots and three hots for free..." or "driving to the library helps people get there to learn, so let's loan out cars...". Or the unsupportable "we'll give you anything you need to learn anything you want."

Re:Libraries and churchs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38129178)

Go to a Hindu temple. There are multiple priests conducting multiple ceremonies and people are talking and walking around the whole time. It's so loud that I often have wished I had ear plugs. I think 90% of the people just go to socialize with their friends.

Re:Libraries and churchs (1)

scamper_22 (1073470) | about 2 years ago | (#38128922)

And what stops you from gathering with your fellow non-believers?

I'll just toss this out there as a thought. People naturally form groups... and groups are naturally exclusive. Not everyone can belong to the same group or you can't form those close group bonds with anyone.

So with a private community center (religion, cultural), they exclude others. Not by law or force :P, just by the reality that a Japanese person is probably not interested in joining the Latin association.

The problem you face with public institution as community centers; whether libraries or for that matter public schools, is that they try and pretend we can all belong to the same group. In reality, these places become either non-denominational enough to basically be valueless bureaucracies unable to get any of the benefit of a community center. Or they start to become exclusionary and take on something very much like a religious or cultural institution... while getting public funding.

Nothing of course stops you form forming a non-profit community center where tech geeks can gather. You just have to do the same kind of work every other cultural and religious group does... get people to donate money.

Re:Libraries and churchs (1)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#38129172)

Nothing stops me from gathering with like minded people.

While I agree with some of what you said I wouldn't call the people going to a library a singular but rather diverse groups and individuals seeking the same things, knowledge,, entertainment or a gardening club (yes libraries do that) the nice thing about a library is ANYONE can go in, even the homeless.
With a church you see the same thing, a group that only goes on Sunday, a group that meets for prayer 3 times a week, a children's bible study group, etc.

We aren't really coming under the same specific group as you were stating, but rather a grouping of smaller more diverse groups, even at the same church.

Re:Libraries and churchs (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | about 2 years ago | (#38129112)

when will the day come that "non-believers" is a reference to dogmatic thinking and the believers are those that have faith in logic and the scientific method

Re:Libraries and churchs (1)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#38130674)

Never, humanity's default state is ignorance, the insightful thinkers are far and few between.

To be fair, all of us live the "allegory of the cave" in one way or another.

I'd rather have books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128250)

Libraries are a place to find books, magazines, microfiche, newspapers, etc. Stuff that is often not yet available in digital form. That's the beauty of libraries: You really have access to information that you might not already have access to via other sources. When in doubt, buy more books, get more magazine subscriptions and better cataloging than buying fabbers or CNC machines.

Re:I'd rather have books (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#38128366)

Way too narrow. Libraries are places where you go to get access to people (librarians) who can help you find expressions of ideas. Those expressions could be in meat space or in virtual space.

Outstanding! (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 2 years ago | (#38128354)

Libraries are the means to better a society. They have been around before the great library in Alexandria was burnt by Christians. It only stands to reason they evolve so humanity can too. Perhaps we are not destined for Idiocracy after all.

Re:Outstanding! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38130158)

"was burnt by Christians"...

Huh?

Oh, you meant MUSLIMS... but muslims are non-white, so you aren't allowed to criticise them, even though the burning of the Library of Alexandria was one of the greatest crimes against the advancement of mankind in living history.

You moron.

Hacker-Spaces with loaner Kindles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128390)

I can see it now... the collection of dead trees is gone. Instead the library is a hackerspace you can check-out ebooks from, or even sign-out used eReaders themselves.

Terrorist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128418)

Can you possibly imagine a place where ANYONE and or EVERYONE is allowed to go and learn how to build electronic equipment that could be used for bombs, WMD, or to evade police? Think of the children!

Re:Terrorist (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#38128694)

Can you possibly imagine a place where ANYONE and or EVERYONE is allowed to go and learn how to build electronic equipment that could be used for bombs, WMD, or to evade police? Think of the children!

Indeed! How much fun could they have in such a place? Please! Think of the children.

Clearly, you've never been to one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38128438)

Usually filthy, disorganized, run by well-meaning but incompetent volunteers, full of half-working tools and half-broken parts, with bad advice and large egos everywhere. Yeah, it's the future...

Fab Lab? (4, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | about 2 years ago | (#38128468)

I'm all for redefining what a library is. I've always felt that libraries are potentially much more useful spaces than they are currently used for. The problem being that they are ultimately run by civil servants who are far from the most creative people on the planet. (They may even be the most uncreative people on the planet).

However, let us not -- ever -- call these wonderful institutions, "makers spaces", or "fab labs", or any similar kind of retarded buzzword bullshit.

There's a current global trend to turn museums into dumb infotainment centers for kids. Can we please not also make libraries the information centers for the new Idiocracy.

By all means expand the boundaries of what a library is, but call it a library. If you are too fucking dumb to know what a library is, you should not even be in one.

Re:Fab Lab? (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 2 years ago | (#38129342)

I think the hackerspaces would be all for co-opting the prestigious and well-respected name of "library". There's a bit of baggage that comes with the name "hackerspace". Some of them anyway. Some revel in the "safety comes as a distinct 3rd" sort of culture which is light on paperwork and PC and heavy on actually doing stuff. And as someone who just started up a organization, the idea of dealing with the general public's children is horrifying.

So you'd be looking at the well-to-do hackerspaces that are trying to make the jump from indie startup to established institution.

Why do we have to make up names for things (2)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 2 years ago | (#38128522)

It's not a "maker space", it's not a "fab lab". It's been referred to a "workshop" or something very similar for, as near as I can tell, 4-500 years. It has the same relevance to a library as a blast furnace.

library:
late 14c., from Anglo-Fr. librarie, from O.Fr. librairie "collection of books," noun use of adj. librarius "concerning books," from L. librarium "chest for books," from liber (gen. libri) "book, paper, parchment," originally "the inner bark of trees," probably a derivative of PIE base *leub(h)- "to strip, to peel" (see leaf). The equivalent word in most Romance languages now means "bookseller's shop." O.E. had bochord, lit. "book hord."

Re:Why do we have to make up names for things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38129372)

Damn, I better go tell Apple that my iTunes Library is not a Library.

Re:Why do we have to make up names for things (1)

Rennt (582550) | about 2 years ago | (#38129794)

That is a fine etymological definition of library, but ever since Latin went out of style a library means 1) Collection of media (perhaps including, but certainly not limited to books), 2) The building or place where media collections are stored, 3) An organization responsible for collecting, maintaining, and providing access to media.

Not that maker spaces particularly fit any of those definitions without being generous, but to restrict libraries to "hording books" out of historical zeal seems a little shortsighted.

the power of 5k words... (1)

phobafiliac (704426) | about 2 years ago | (#38128662)

From the article: "People say that's a lot. Well, no, it isn't. English is a language with a million and a half words in it, an extra five thousand new ones isn't world-shattering news. So yes, there has been change as a result of technology as you'd expect, but it hasn't been... ...as great as people think." I think they underestimate the magnitude of 5k new words. People typically know around 20k words. if they picked up 5k or even 2k of these new words, they either increased their vocabulary by 10% or replaced words they used previously.

Was it just me? (1)

futuresheep (531366) | about 2 years ago | (#38129124)

Or did anyone else glance at this and see FAP LAB? I'm thinking the Fayetteville Library should change the name...

Stop using the word "Maker" !! (1, Interesting)

ThePeices (635180) | about 2 years ago | (#38129288)

Just stop it. Using BS marketing terms are counter-productive.

Call a workshop a "maker space" is cringe inducing, embarrassing and just downright uncool.

And dont even *think* of trying to use the word "Synergy" either, it just shows how out of touch with the word you are.

Libraries to Go Extinct (1)

N8F8 (4562) | about 2 years ago | (#38129512)

Here in Florida almost the first thing to get cut in tough times are library hours and budgets. The vast majority of library users are aging out. Many libraries are trying to move to multimedia and electronic content sharing but copyright holders are destroying the buy-once, share-infinite model that libraries thrive on. If a library has to buy a new ebook for every eight times a book use "loaned" then they are doomed. Google books, Project Gutenberg, Amazon and BN are your new libraries.

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