Academic Library Use of 3D Printers 978-157440-355-8

by Sameer Joshi or 16-Sep-2015

Academic Library Use of 3D Printers report looks closely at how 25 colleges are using 3D printing, predominantly in their academic libraries.  Survey participants include many major medical schools and research universities. The report helps its readers to answer questions such as: how much are academic libraries spending on their 3D printers and related peripherals? What kind of equipment are they buying? What is the policy on the technology replacement cycle?  Who is making the decisions on equipment purchases?  Which academic departments are the heaviest users of 3D printing equipment? What percentage of use if for education? For research? For personal use? How much staff time does 3D printing consume? How can staff time be maximized? What are the biggest problems that libraries are encountering in developing and implementing 3D printing programs?  How is equipment being funded? What percentage of funding is grant or gift derived? What percentage of cost is funded through cost recovery charges to end users or service agreements? How are libraries handling the potential environmental hazards of 3D printing? How has the program affected the library’s standing on campus? What kind of advice are librarians who have had programs up and running offering to their peers?

 Just a few of the report’s many findings are that:

Mean spending on initial stock of 3-D printers and related hardware and software was $6,328 with a median of $5,000 and a range of $0-$23,000. 

For 52% of the colleges sampled, the library or departmental operating budget was the primary source of funding for the 3D printing operation. 

Some interesting modes of campus collaborations are emerging.  One library gave engineering students a privileged position on accessibility in exchange for         engineering department help in equipment support and maintenance.  Another research librarian gushed:  “the Library has become a hotbed for cross-           pollination between researchers and entrepreneurs.”