During 2016 SLIC introduced 3D printing facilities to every Local Authority in Scotland. 3D printing supports a wide range of library activities and introduces digital technology to new audiences. Our 3D printing project also encapsulates many of the key recommendations made in Ambition & Opportunity, Scotland's first public library strategy.
This large scale project was made possible through £76,000 of funding supplied by the Scottish Government's Digital Participation Programme. As well as securing 3D printers and specialist equippment, SLIC was also able to provide vital training for librarians throughout Scotland. This allowed the few library services who had already introduced the innovative technology to further develop their services.
In August 2016 SLIC conducted a 3D Printing Report on the success of the national project. The report looked at many different elements, including hardware selection, 3D printer training and the introduction of SLIC's 3D Printing Champions group. It highlights the popularity of 3D printers with the public but also their ability to empower people through digital skills training.
The report concludes that libraries must anticipate future demand for services of this kind and be prepared to invest in its development.