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They’ve long served as communal gathering spots, but these civic institutions are becoming gateways to technological tinkering.

If you could ask Ben Franklin what public institution he would like to visit in America today, I bet he would say the public library. And if you asked him which part of the library, I bet he would say the makerspace.

Ben Franklin is well known as a founder of the early subscription library, the Philadelphia Library Company, almost 300 years ago. It may be less well known that Franklin used the library’s space for some of his early experiments with electricity.

Today, perhaps taking a cue from Franklin, libraries across America are creating space for their patrons to experiment with all kinds of new technologies and tools to create and invent.

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