Inside Chicago’s New Maker Lab at Harold Washington Library

July 10, 2013

Just this past Monday, July 8th, the Chicago Public Library opened up a pop up maker-lab that will allow the general public to experiment with new technologies such as laser cutting and 3D printing for free. Visitors will eventually be able to make use of MakerBot 3D printers, laser cutters from Inventables, and one milling machine.

Goals for the maker space at Harold Washington Library (photo from

“We really designed it as an introduction to maker tools, culture, and economies with the hope that people will continue on their own.” – CPL’s First Deputy Commissioner Andrea Sáenz

Although some smaller libraries have opened up similar spaces, the Chicago Public Library is the first major public library to offer an opportunity like this. The plan is to see how it works out in the library atmosphere throughout this next year. Depending on the outcome, this idea may become a permanent part of the library or even expand to other Chicago Library branches.

Chicago Public Library Maker Lab

The milling machine in the maker lab (photo from; taken by Jacqui Cheng)

A cheese board version of the Chicago Public Library logo that was created with the milling machine (photo from; taken by Jacqui Cheng)

MakerBot 3D Printers

MakerBot 3D Printers (photo from; taken by Jacqui Cheng)

Eager teachers and principals from local schools have already been emailing about setting up field-trips for the fall. You can learn more about the CPL Innovation Lab here.

Written by: Jillian Tackaberry, Industrial Design Intern, Beyond Design, Inc.

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