A 3D printer did not save my library.

Cory Greenwood
6 min readDec 23, 2022
Photo by Kadir Celep on Unsplash

In 2013, Hugh Rundle wrote a blog post titled Mission creep — a 3D printer will not save your library, in which they spotlight libraryland’s lust for technology, questioning the value, or rather, the point, of having 3D printers in libraries. Rundle argued that no business case existed for public libraries to provide 3D printing, drawing comparisons to their presence in libraries with laundry services or loaning cars.

“…individuals would find the service useful, currently they are expensive to buy or rent commercially, and potentially they could be helpful to productivity and the economy.”

At some point in the past, I had started to draft a response to Rundle’s article, reflecting on whether the three(!) 3D printers in my library had indeed saved it, or whether my work had been contributing toward the diversion of public libraries from the rest of the GLAM sector. However, feeling that such a post might not land well with my employer at the time, I stopped writing and never shared it.

However, after speaking to my (now former) colleagues about those 3D printers, and then accidentally clicking onto an old bookmark (No. Your 3D printer does not make you innovativeThomas C. Murray), I think now’s as good a time as any to share my experience working with 3D printers in a public library. So, here goes.

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Cory Greenwood

Public Libraries | Marketing & Community Engagement