Growing Partnership with Public Library System

The partnership of the Jackson (MS) ARC and the public library system in the northern suburb of Madison County took another step last month. JARC donated two 3D printers valued at $3,000 to the Madison County Library System in late May. This adds to the library system’s capabilities to serve patrons who are engaged in “maker” activities. The library policy is to only charge for the actual resin used to print the object file submitted by the patron. I’ve had custom shells for PC power supplies that I had converted to ham radio use as well as a number of other things. The most expensive thing I had printed was about $8 or so. Why would I buy a 3D printer unless I just wanted one? (If I could find the space….).

Back in February at the Capital City Hamfest, I chaired a Forum on building partnerships with public libraries. The MCLS technology staff was on that Panel, along with staffing a booth on the floor. It was easily one of the most visited booths at this hamfest of about 900 attendees. Building a relationship with an organization, I said in my talk, was more than just buying ARRL books and dropping them off. It’s about finding mutually-beneficial activities that help both the library achieve its goals as well as the goals of the amateur radio club. It’s too bad that so many ham operators tell me that they’ve not been to a public library in ___ number of years. Two groups that hams say they want to recruit — young people and women — do go to public libraries. So much so that it’s twice as frequently as they go to the movie theater in a given month, leading the Gallup Organization to call public libraries the most common “cultural crossroads” in America.

The Jackson ARC has taken another step in building this partnership between them and the MCLS. See the Press Release below. Can your club build something similar with your area library system?

Frank Howell, K4FMH, is a regular contributor to and writes from Mississippi, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

One Response to “Growing Partnership with Public Library System”

  • Paul Smith (k5prs):

    A super worthwhile partnership that should reap dividends for the local HAM community.

    I hope that HAMS are supporting their local repeaters as generously. We tend to take our local, ‘free’ repeaters for granted.

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