PoPville Preview – The Digital Commons at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library

901 G Street, NW

Welcome to the future courtesy of the public library. From DCPL:

The Digital Commons at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library will open on July 17, 2013. As technology continues to expand how people seek employment, work, learn and interact, the DC Public Library is creating a place for the District’s growing community of entrepreneurs, developers, designers, mentors, students and educators. The digital commons will be a place for formal and informal gatherings that need technology. The 11,000 square-foot space will feature:

50 PCs, 18 iMacs and 12 express computers for the public – Internet Access, Office Products, and Media Creation
50 workstations with outlets for laptop computer
An eResources discovery station to help Library users learn about our digital collection and how to access them, as well as discover the various devices available to use with the Library’s eContent.
An eReader device bar with several types of readers to show Library users how to download eBooks and other digital content
A 3D printer

The Digital Commons will also offer five enhanced conference rooms and a 50-person meeting for programming and collaborating.”

I stopped by for a tour with chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper. The new space and more importantly the new capabilities are jaw dropping. Cooper is leaving very big shoes to fill. And a hell of a legacy:

Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper showing off the Library’s first 3D printer

Lots more photos after the jump.

3D Printer

For the printer you pay for materials and have to submit what you’ll be printing (obviously they will not print things like guns etc.)

3d items that had been recently printed

It is really, really cool.

3D Bowl getting printed

Computer time is limited to 60-70 minutes (twice per day).

50 computers

You can reserve rooms online.

conference rooms

DCPL is partnering with the 1776 incubator. There will be an application process to participate.

Dream Lab

Freegal allows you to download free music. And Zinio allows you to download from over 200 magazines. Staff can help you. There will be 5 full time staff in The Digital Commons area.

eReader device bar

Not pictured is an espresso book binding machine. Like the 3D printer, you also pay for materials.

photo 12.01.32 PM
9th and G St, NW

The Digital Commons on west side of building – formerly home to the science, business and tech sections

11 Comment

  • I hate to be the pessimist, but I’m wondering how long until half of this technology has been stolen.

    • I will admit, my first thought was the same thing. DCPL has had hundreds of computers “go for a walk” the past few years, and a new fancy “all glass facade” library with all new computers was open for less than a month before some neighborhood kids threw a brick through a 20,000 dollar piece of glass and walked out with a bunch of imacs.

      Question, why is DCPL buying 3D printers? Seriously, what possible use (except for the local kids to print some “gats”) could DCPL have for a 3d printer?

      • I’m an engineer… so the cool quotient is high on 3D printers… but alas… I totally agree with you. Not sure the point. Those tools belong in community colleges.

        • I’m an engineer too. Anything that gets kids interested in design and technology is worthwhile, and I think a 3D printer would definitely achieve that goal.

        • caroline,
          what do you do as an engineer?

        • “Those tools belong in community colleges.”
          to the exclusion of libraries? why is that?

      • you may as well ask why we have public libraries.

  • andy

    can I make a gun with this 3-D printer?

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Technically you can but you are not allowed:

      “For the printer you pay for materials and have to submit what you’ll be printing (obviously they will not print things like guns etc.)”

    • andy

      wait, apparently I did not read the post closely enough. guns not allowed. Maybe I can build a model for myself of the Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good.

  • this is awesome! since i learned about them i’ve wanted access to a 3d printer and a way to learn how to use them. i will try to become involved in this.
    we have fablab in dc but they seem so opaque and expensive, i never know whats going on with them and cant afford their events anyway.

Comments are closed.