Diversity & Inclusion
Arts / DEI

Check out the Silver Spring Library’s collection of 3D printers, iPads and accessibility tools

“We’re making available a really wide array of opportunities for people to access the internet and access digital content.”

Jade Wampler, in blue hair, with her artist friend Brice Hunt, 18, of Newark. (Photo by Lindsay Podraza)

Silver Spring’s new futuristic-looking library wants to be on the same page as you.
“The way a lot of people like to spend their leisure time is being online,” said Christopher Freeman, a Public Services Administrator for Montgomery County Public Libraries. “We’re making available a really wide array of opportunities for people to access the internet and access digital content.”
The library opened its doors in June — and with a comfortable $64 million budget, it was able to pack its 90,000 square feet space with gadgets, digital tools and yes, lots of books.
Within the five-story building, you’ll find:

  • 3 Printrbot Plus 3D printers.
  • A tech bar with devices like iPads, Kindle Fires and Samsung Galaxy tablets to showcase MCPL’s digital collections, like Zinio and Flipster. It’s “to demonstrate to the customers how easy it is to access that information at home,” regardless on where they are on the iOS-Android spectrum, explained Freeman.
  • 32 PCs.
  • Seven Macs, equipped with a range of creative programs like Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop, Garage Band, iMovie, GitHub and Final Cut Pro.
  • Laptops available for three-hour check-outs inside the library.
  • Nikon COOLPIX cameras.
  • An “accessibility lab,” which includes four wheelchair-accessible desks and four iPads, plus computers equipped with text-to-speech software Kurzweil 1000 and screen enlargement program MAGic.
  • Kwikboost station in which library users can lock up their smartphones and tablets and charge them.
  • Several conveyor belts that check-in books, reading their RFID tag and sorting them out by bins.
  • 56 outdoor “Hold Lockers,” in which customers can pick up books 24/7. One jogger, said Silver Spring Branch Manager Fran Ware, has “never been in the library,” thanks to the system.
  • 100,000 books. But we’d rather pick up a Wii (which you’ll find on the fifth floor).

(Courtesy photo)

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