Libraries ‘more than just books’

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 11, 2016

By Matthew Strother

Matthew Strother | Daily News

Matthew Strother | Daily News

LaGRANGE — Libraries aren’t out of touch with the digital age, and a device at LaGrange Memorial Library will provide a new tool for the technologically savvy.

The library on Saturday hosted a demonstration of its new 3D printer. The device melts a plastic composite that it then funnels out of a nozzle into the desired shape. As the plastic cools, the printer builds the 3D object in layers, going back over each layer as the plastic cools.

The 3D printer is available for the public’s use, said Kathryn Schol, digital program coordinator for Troup-Harris Regional Library system. There will be software available to create 3D designs on the computers, and websites are available where pre-built designs may be downloaded. The cost to print an object is 20 cents per gram of material.

Retired librarian Clare Zens came to see the printer in action.

“I really wanted to see this thing. I think it’s fascinating,” she said as she watched it create a key chain with the word “READ.” “It’s amazing, quite amazing. I think its a great (tool). You could make anything.”

Schol said the piece of technology is one aspect of the modern offerings the library has available to the public.

“As libraries, we have to look forward to the future, and really, libraries have always been about getting information to the public,” she said. “So, when Ben Franklin started the free library in Philadelphia, he first ordered books from Europe and then he ordered cutting edge scientific equipment. So it wasn’t just all about books from the beginning, that was just part of it, it was about advancing knowledge. … We need to embrace the technology, libraries aren’t going away, just changing.”

In addition to traditional books, the library has electronic books available for people to download onto their e-readers, Schol noted. People can check those out online or come to the library and a librarian can help them download a book to their device.

The library also hosts regular classes like teaching children and adults how to use digital cameras and computer basics classes on navigating the Internet to ins and outs of making Microsoft Office documents and creating videos.

To see what is on tap at LaGrange Memorial Library, as well as the other libraries in the Troup-Harris Regional Library system, go to

Matthew Strother is the editor of LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2153.