Dundee Central Library is the first public library in Scotland to incorporate 3D printing into its services for groups with additional support needs.
Staff at the library also believe they are the first in the UK to provide the facility, beating Exeter Library by two days.
The Dundee staff are using the cutting-edge technology to provide a new level of interaction for children and adults who have learning or physical disabilities.
The printers which cost around £1,600 are being used to create characters from a special 3D printing children’s book called Leo the Maker Prince by Carla Diana.
Once constructed, the characters are used in storytelling sessions in the children’s library to help enhance the experience for children who are blind, or partially sighted.Post by Dundee Libraries.Maureen Hood, library and information officer, said: “It brings the characters to life which is great because it gives the kids something physical to touch and feel while the story is being read to them.
“They can hear a description of the characters while feeling the models in their hands, allowing them to engage more with the story.”
The groups of adults and young people will also work on projects that will help the library and enhance services for themselves and other users.
Nicky Welch, who runs a learning disabled creative writing group at the library, said: “We are about to start work on writing our own play and we hope to print out the characters we invent.
“People with learning difficulties often find it difficult to visualise being in someone else’s shoes, so having their own characters in front of them will be a great way of sparking their imagination.”
Other projects include reproducing objects from the past including darning mushrooms for reminiscence packs, allowing older members of the community to connect with items that hold a significant meaning to them.
Plans are also in place for these groups to produce book stands that will be used throughout the library to display stock and make accessibility aids for digital devices to help people with arthritis grip devices such as eBook readers.
The purchase of the 3D printer has been funded by the Scottish Library and Information Council as part of their Training in New Technologies project.