New Tools and Technology Collection at the Engineering Library circulates materials that help students explore, experiment, and create 

3D scanner, sewing machine, tool kit, voice conferencing microphone

Now available at the Engineering Library is a new collection of materials curated to help inspire engineering students to explore, experiment, and create with items that are not at their disposal year-round. 

The Tools and Technology Collection, available to all Princeton University students, faculty, and staff regardless of discipline, includes, among other items, a basic tool set, a computer/electronics repair kit, a sewing machine and kit, a button maker, legos, an Arduino kit with sensors, circuit drawing kits, a 3D printing pen, and a handheld 3D scanner. 

“Object-based and hands-on learning are an integral part of engineering education,” said engineering librarian Willow Dressel. “The goal of the [collection] is to provide access to materials that students may want to use or experiment with but might not otherwise have access to especially if they are not connected with a lab or departmental shop.”

Dressel explained that items in the collection may be available to students in select classrooms, labs, or even at annual events like HackPrinceton. But the new collection now gives students the opportunity to check out and use the materials at their own discretion and during any time of the year. 

“Libraries are embracing their role of filling community needs by providing access to items relevant to their public or location,” she said. “Public libraries provide access to a wide variety of items such as tools, toys, musical instruments, and very regionally specific examples such as snow shoes available in a Maine public library or fishing equipment in a Minnesota public library. Academic libraries are also expanding their collections to include equipment and technology needed by their communities and lend items such as calculators, cameras, laptops, presentation aids, and more. Academic engineering library tool collections are growing, especially in support of Making communities and can be found at [schools such as] the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Olin College of Engineering, and North Carolina State University,” she added.

In fact, Princeton University Library (PUL) has launched and will continue to build initiatives to support the digital and technological needs of the University community and patrons. On Feb. 1, 2021, PUL will launch a Makerspace, located on the A level of Lewis Library, that encourages visitors to touch, explore, and create beyond the confines of coursework and research. 

In 2020, PUL also launched a virtual reality initiative at Stokes Library that enables students, faculty, and staff to enhance their pedagogical experiences by engaging in a realistic, interactive environment.

Items in the Tools and Technology Collection circulate for one week at a time and can be checked out during the Library’s open hours. Given the COVID-19 pandemic and best health practices, items will be quarantined for 24 hours upon return before being available for check out again.

For a comprehensive list of the items available, visit the LibGuide. The Engineering Library is now located in a newly renovated space adjacent to the Lewis Library on the A Floor of Fine Hall.


Written by Stephanie Ramírez, Communications Specialist and Staff Writer

Media contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications

Published on January 26, 2021