OK, first you must watch this video. It is at the very least, adorable:
Now, reflect on what you just saw. A kid (10 maybe?) talking about using AutoCAD to make a 3D object. What’s more, talking about using an open source self-replicating 3D printer. Do not simply dismiss this as one extraordinary kid (though I’m sure he is). This technology is coming to your home and your children. We are entering the day when a 10 year old can design the next action figure, lego, or vehicle, and then email it to their friends. Not consumer, not producer, but participant in a creative community.
Imagine your dishwasher breaks and you call the manufacturer. Instead of mailing you the part, they email it to your printer. Are librarians ready for that? Imagine a member walking in to your library with the idea for the next great gadget. You can help them research it, make it, and then build a community around it. This is facilitating knowledge as much as giving them a “how to” book.
Thanks to Stephen Abram for the link, and thanks to Meg Backus who saw this coming years ago.