Poster presented at the Annual ALA Conference 2015 - STS Poster Session in San Francisco, CA.


This poster session provides a case study of using a library’s 3D printer and /or scanner to engage and reach out to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) departments and groups on campus. Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library received a 3D printer from a non-profit organization and a 3D scanner from the Friends of Morris Library. The Science Librarian was put in charge of coordinating the library’s 3D program as it was anticipated that members of the science community on campus would be interested in 3D. There were many STEM related groups on campus where there was no active engagement with the library. The library’s 3D printer program provided a way “in the door” of these groups opening up further dialogue about the library’s other resources and services. Several groups on campus were targeted due to their potential interest in the 3D program and their impact on campus. Visits were made, emails sent, advertising generated, and suggestions given to these groups.

The science librarian found several groups that she partnered with to lecture about the library’s 3D tools, conduct a demonstration, or simply be present at for special events. As a result of these efforts, the library was able to participate in events it had not previously been invited to in the past. Outreach events included the annual Math Field Day, a conference for area science teachers, the Sustainability Carnival, the Science Café, an engineering department diversity program, a middle school technology club, science themed residence hall groups, and a Think Science biweekly dinner presentation for science students among others. At each event, the 3D program was the star, but other library resources and services were highlighted including the library liaison program. As a result, individuals from these departments have scheduled reference time and several classes were brought into the library for sessions; including classes from engineering, technology, and computer science. Having a 3D printing and scanning program at a library provides an additional way to engage hard to reach departments and groups in STEM disciplines. There are benefits of having a program like this that goes beyond simply helping patrons.