Geeking Out

Our local library is not just for books any more. It also contains a geocache. It also has a 3D printer.

If being a geek means I know how to use computers, I know how to fix computers, and liking Star Wars, then I enjoy being a geek. I found out last winter that our library has a 3D printer. It went through a phase of always being broken down. So I didn’t get print anything for a long time. This winter? I have printed.Merry_Christmas

The librarian told me to use the website Thingiverse to find stuff I wanted to print. And find stuff I did. Being Christmas time, the first thing I printed was a Christmas tree ornament. Nothing fancy, but pretty enough for our tree. What tree isn’t complete without a 3D printed ornament? The librarian set up the printer for me while I used the computer program the printer communicate with. It was really easy.

On my next visit the following week, I just had to start printing the ultimate 3D printable. It’s not fully operation, by any means, but still…

IMG_4235

It’s a Death Star! How cool is this?

IMG_4237Apparently I’m not the Princess Peachonly geek in the house. Crash wanted something printed as well. Back to the library we went (we were taking books back, anyway). What did he want printed?

Steve. From Minecraft.

We’re going back to the library today so the third geek, Bang, can print a Princess Peach. She’s his girlfriend, he says. Except he wants a golden Peach, not blue. I can do that because I learned how to change the filaments so we can use any color the library provides – which is actually quite a few.

We’re a family of geeks and I’m okay with that. These are just simple figures that we are printing. There are much more complicated builds. The Death Star was three builds – it printed in three separate pieces to be glued together. Each build takes about an hour. The more complicated builds would take several trips to the library. There are builds with actual working pieces – like the nut and bolt we printed last summer. And then there’s this marble race! It prints in seven different pieces. It’s on our wish list.

What would you 3D print?

 

You’ll never believe what is in this quiet little spot…

001Don’t headlines like that drive you nuts? Ugh, they drive me insane! I promise to never use a title like that again.

There’s this quiet little spot in town we like to visit on occasion. It contains the world real and imagined. It’s a place where lovers meet and dead come alive. It’s a place where history speaks and the bad guy gets caught (most of the time). And lets not forget Mother Nature’s creatures. Name any and you’ll find them here. Despite all you will find here, this is the quietest spot in town.

The library is supposed to be quiet. Unfortunately, it has been getting too quiet. Visitors aren’t frequenting as much as they used to. While I haven’t actually done the research, I can speculate.

Library funding is down.
Libraries are receiving less government funding than in previous years. This leaves them having to apply for grants and often find themselves unsuccessful. Mind you, they still get new material frequently. Their funding hasn’t been cut completely. Well, there was one nearby school that faced a budget cut so deep it closed its library completely. Without money libraries can’t stay up to date, get the programming or invest in the technology that will get people coming through the doors.

Technology
When given the choice, there aren’t many kids who would choose to visit the library over playing games. Between TV, video game systems, tablets, phones, laptops, books don’t become a priority. However, the library has kept up with the times. You can check out e-books to read on your device. FREE! No need to go spending money on books you may read only once, or download a book you won’t be able to give away when you’re done with it. Borrow it from the library.

Priority
I understand that sometimes you just can’t get to the library. Work, sports, homework, cooking, housework, life most often take priority. However, the teacher in me can’t stress enough the importance of reading. The library here in town is open 6 days a week, often until 6pm. Swing by after work, on a Saturday, during your errand running and grab a book to read at bedtime. I take my kids and let them to browse the shelves allowing them to discover on their own what they like read. More often than not, they often surprise me.

Misunderstood
My final analysis is that libraries are generally misunderstood. People often think of the library they visited as kid and expect the library is the same as it was then. Libraries stay up to date, often lending out e-readers to those who can’t afford them. They do more than just hand out books. Of course, that’s their main purpose. However, they also have e-readers, audiobooks, audiobook players, movies, computers, newspapers, and magazines. There are also story times and author reads for kids and adults alike.

“Book-books” are free to borrow. Actually, everything about the library is free, including the 3D printer! Our library recently attempted to get a self-publishing machine. That would have been cool. Bring in your manuscript and it would print it and bind it and presto, you’re the author of your own book!

Lets not kill the library by never using it. Go visit. I bet you’ll be surprised by what you’ll find. Or if you can’t find what you want, ask. You’ll be impressed.