I’m at an all-day conference on 3D printing and Maker Spaces on college campuses today. Not sure what I’m going to find out about them, but that’s pretty much the reason I’m here. Libraries have been doing a lot in the last few years to really push Maker Spaces: areas where people can come to create things, be they printed or pounded out in metal or nailed together in wood. A fair number of libraries have argued that this is the next big thing for libraries.
I’m skeptical. (Or at least, I was going into today. Maybe I’ll see the light at some point during the conference.)
The thing is, libraries a decade ago were trumpeting Second Life. How it was going to be the next big thing, and how they really needed to have a presence there to stay current and relevant.
Tell me: when’s the last time anyone went to Second Life? It was an effort that went nowhere, and all the work libraries put in to having a virtual space there was pretty much wasted.
So the big question I have is if these Maker Spaces are the start of something real and lasting, or if they’re just another Second Life. At the moment, I’d put my bet on Second Life, but maybe that’s just because I haven’t seen the Maker Space in action.
I’m interested enough to drive 3.5 hours to go to a conference about it . . .
Anyway. I’ll keep you posted on what I find out. I’m a huge techie, so I’d be all for creating something like this at my campus, but only if people are actually going to use it. Buying great 3D printers to only have them gather dust . . . not my style.