06/19/2013 02:29 pm ET Updated Jun 19, 2013

Chicago Public Library 'Maker Space': Branch To Open Lab With 3-D Printers, Laser Cutters & More


Libraries have long been the haven of readers, but now the Chicago Public Library is making their main branch a haven for makers.

As part of the CPL's innovation lab, the Harold Washington branch will open its free "maker space" July 8. Crain's Chicago Business describes it as a "pop-up fabrication lab will offer the public access to 3-D printers, laser cutters, a milling machine and a vinyl cutter as well as a variety of supporting design software."

The space will stick around for six months and may relocate to neighborhood branches around the city after that.

An excited patron snapped a photo of the space-in-progress on Tuesday:

As part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's "Chicago Summer of Learning" initiative, the CSOL is even offering scout-like badges to those who become certified in using some of the maker space tools in the library, like the laser cutter.

The Harold Washington branch's maker space won't be the first in the city — places like the Museum of Science and Industry have them, too — though the library's will be the only completely free lab.

The Fayetteville Free Library in New York state was the first in the country to roll out a similar such space in 2011; since then, other public library systems in Connecticut and California have also caught on.



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