Conclusion

In responding to the question “But why exactly is it appropriate for a library service to provide 3D printing?” this thesis project provides a plausible group of scenarios as a reference point for future development. As a design response to the question it is speculative, but nevertheless informed by an in-depth exploration of the surrounding technological context and access to the Library’s collections.  

The initial context exploration into smart objects, technologies, and collections developed a clear and grounded understand of the surrounding context. In response, the case studies identified opportunities to develop connections between a broad range of technologies and media, gave a departure point for ideation and development of scenarios.

The subsequent scenarios demonstrate potential applications of 3D printing. To focus the scenarios a specific collection item was used to create cohesion between the scenarios while demonstrating how different outputs can emerge from the same item. The scenarios also allowed connections between different forms of media – 2D analogue to 3D virtual, to 3D physical and back to 2D analogue – to emerge. This sequence honors the tactile nature of books taking advantage of digital technologies to rejuvenate, then returning to physical play and narrative extension. Along with the diversity of potential outputs from a singular input, the scenarios highlight how potential applications of different types of 3D printing can in themselves be an inspiration for new narratives. While the scenarios still need to be resolved on a technical level, they are intended to awaken interest in future possibilities.

In providing an opportunity for narrative extension, the intention of the scenarios is to invite a response from the Library community; important to this was Jan Farr’s contribution. When asked if she would contribute to a scenario she graciously obliged.