A library without books to keep the geeks hooked

By : |June 2, 2016 0

Imagine a library without any books in it. Impossible, right?

Wrong! At Omaha in the US, it is a reality. A technology library promoting high-tech equipment and classes inside is revolutionising the way libraries work.

You might mistake it for a 3D printer sales place, but step inside Do Space and you will find a milieu of students, businessmen, and artists taking advantage of the technology library, powered by powerful PCs and useful software, high-tech 3D printers and laser cutters, all for free. While some are there purely for academic purposes, there are also budding entrepreneurs, building their unique ideas through Do Space’s infrastructure.

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Director Rebecca Stavick says it’s a logical evolution of traditional libraries. “I’ve always thought of libraries as places full of tools. Books are tools, scrolls are tools, computers are tools,” she says. “This vision of bringing technology to everyone in the community, it just gets people very excited.”

The venture is funded by Heritage Services, a coalition of Omaha philanthropists, who pay for computers, 3D printers, and the Internet bandwidth. The group also donated $7 million to renovate the building where it is currently housed, which initially was occupied by Borders bookstore.

And if you wonder how good a free service like that could be, consider this: Do Space offers a minimum of 1 gigabit and up to 10 gigs of data. Exceptional at its very best. That’s why the platform has been a conducive launchpad for entrepreneurs.

“We know people run businesses out of this building, and we’re OK with that,” Sue Morris, representative of the philanthropic group says.

Hans Bekele is one such entrepreneur, and he couldn’t be more thankful to Do Space, from where he manages his small multimedia business. It’s not just the infrastructure that attracted Bekele. The informal community of creative people who hang out there has also worked to his advantage. “I would be locked into my office, just sort of myself, right? Not hearing fresh ideas. Some of the simplest and the most innovative things that I’ve thought of just happened through conversation,” he says.

Other libraries across the US are looking at expanding their tech options, from 3D printers to video equipment. Susan Benton of Urban Libraries Council says, “The density of the technology, and the scope and the ability for a variety of programming to be going on at the same time, in one space, is unique.”

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