EDEN, N.C. -- Nowadays, people read their favorite books and magazines on tablets and other handheld electronic devices. So are libraries becoming a thing of the past?
Most libraries, like the Eden branch of the Rockingham County Public Library, are evolving. Katherine Seaver is the branch manager. Seaver emphasizes the meeting space, reading programs and the library's internet access. Seaver is also highlighting another piece of technology most people don't know about.
"I've made name tags, knobs, brackets, all kinds of different things with the 3D printer," Seaver said.
The Eden Friends of the Library purchased the high-tech device that's found in schools and labs. The printer is a draw. Robyn Anuakan is thrilled the printer is available for public use.
"It is not something that I would have been able to construct without a lot of cardboard and paste -- and quite messy. This is lightweight and durable," Anuakan said.
Anuakan uses the 3D printer to produce what she calls a "peace disk." Whether its used as a key chain or a necklace, the peace sign with an additional, longer arm is a visual reminder to help point people in the right direction.
"This tool says whatever circumstance we are dealing with, whatever drama, disconnect, whatever non-perfect moment, it's manageable," Anuakan said.
Some people come to the Eden Public Library with their tools or ideas ready to print. Others sit down with Seaver to take their ideas from paper to printer. This moment gives Seaver a chance to sit down and get to know the people using the library.
Seaver said programming like game night and story time can bring in additional patrons. Plus the library has a large makers space, filled with a variety of material and sewing machines, that helps to keep the library busy.
"We are constantly looking to be even more to the community, where they think of us as being there for them and being relevant," Seaver said.
So technology is not taking people away from the library. It's bringing them back.
The Forsyth County Public Library as well as the Greensboro Public Library have 3D printers available for public use.