D.C. Library Adds Digital Commons Complete with Public 3D-Printer and Espresso Book Machine

D.C.’s Martin Luther King Jr. Library is proving that libraries aren’t just for books – they’re also for 3D printing and book-making. The library is using its $3.4 million grant to provide a publicly accessible 3D printer and an Espresso Book Machine for on demand book printing – great for students and self-publishers. Printing is five cents per gram plus $1 (they say most print jobs costs between $1-$5). The library also has plans to include a “Dream Lab” where users can collaborate on projects ,test drive tablets and e-readers prior to purchasing, and also publish personal novels.

Library manager Nicholas Kerelchuck is optimistic about the library’s 3D printing service as an educational tool:

They’re learning math skills, engineering skill, hard science skills…this is future job experience. I think that in 10 years if someone has experience using a 3-D printer, they are far ahead of the curve.

Digital Commons Features:

  • 16 iMac Computers
  • 60 PCs
  • 4 iMac Creative Stations with Adobe Creative Suite Software
  • 3-D Printer
  • Digital Bar to test-drive tablet computers
  • Dream Lab collaborative space with smart boards and video conferencing capability*
  • Skype Station
  • Espresso book machine
  • Seating with power outlets for 140 customers
  • Video Phone
  • Download station (Coming Soon!)


Dream Lab Features:

  • Meet with other independent workers for coworking
  • Test drive tablets and e-readers before you buy …
  • … And learn how to use your new tool once you have it
  • Work with a librarian to publish an out-of-print (or your own) novel
  • Have conversations with others at the Skype station
  • Organize a meeting to brainstorm ideas
  • Other ideas we haven’t thought of yet