Libraries provide resources for not only for consuming information, but also generating new information and research. In addition to books and academic journals, we traditionally provide creation tools such as computers, (2D) printers, and copy machines. Sometimes, the product of one’s research may be a physical artifact such as a sculpture, a prototype device, or a biological model. The recent decrease in the cost of 3D printing technology makes it possible for libraries to begin providing this service as well, giving all students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with a burgeoning trend in nearly every field of study and professional work.
Pryor, Steven W., "3D Printing: A New Dimension in Service" (2013). Library and Information Services Faculty Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity. 2.