New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

Family Donates High-Tech Pens to Bethlehem Public Library

Submitted by Kristen Roberts, BPL Public Information Specialist

Joe Storch and his infant son, Ethan, were frequent visitors to Bethlehem Public Library during the latter part of 2014.

Joe had taken a 6-week paternity leave to care for Ethan and considered the trips to the library a fun way to break up the day, especially once the cooler weather made spending time outside less desirable.  During one of those visits, Joe signed up for an orientation on the library’s new MakerBot 3D printer, and he and Ethan were seen many afternoons thereafter in the library tech room working on projects to pass the time.  As his paternity leave drew to a close, Joe saw a Kickstarter promotion for 3D pens that used plastic filament to “draw” three-dimensional objects. He and his wife, Naomi, thought the pens would be a great addition to the library’s tech offerings.

“We reached out to Geoff (Kirkpatrick, library director) and asked if that was something the library would be interested in,” said Joe.  Kirkpatrick told the couple it would be a great fit for the library and a fun way to introduce new users to 3D technology.

“One of the great things about these 3Doodlers is that they are easy to learn how to use – it doesn’t take long to get from instruction to production,” Kirkpatrick said.  He said the pens also align with the library’s goal to support the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum in schools.  “This is a great hook to get kids thinking further about the STEM ideas they are learning about in the classroom,” said Kirkpatrick.

Joe and Naomi said they were thrilled to make that kind of contribution to the library and the community, and they set about ordering the 3Doodler pens and education pack through Kickstarter.  The pens, a dozen in total, arrived in early September and will be available for the public to use. There are also plans to feature them in upcoming programs and the library’s frequent “Pop-Up MakerSpace” days, where patrons have access to the library’s myriad creative tools, from sewing machines to button makers, all in one spot.

“For us, this is a great thing to do,” said Joe, adding that libraries have always played an important role in his family’s life.  Naomi said she hopes the addition of the 3Doodlers will give people one more reason to drop in to the library.  “Bethlehem Public Library really promotes a sense of community. You see all types of families there using the space in different ways,” she said. “It is more than just a place that houses books.”  Both praised the universal appeal of the 3Doodlers and said they can’t wait to see how they are used by people of all ages.  “The cool thing about this is that you don’t need to be hooked up to a computer, and it doesn’t come with a set of instructions,” said Joe, referring to the device’s easy-to-use, universal appeal. “We really hope it takes off.”

Photo - 3Doodler Pen