May 21, 2022

Illinois: “Chicago, Suburban Libraries Brace for the Question: Can I Print Out a 3D Gun?”

From the Chicago Tribune:

As 3D printing spreads to libraries all over the country, with hundreds of libraries offering public access, the American Library Association has fielded questions about how libraries should handle situations involving 3D guns, said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

“I don’t think anyone in the library community anticipated the government’s settlement of the original (3D-printed gun) lawsuit,” Caldwell-Stone said. “With that said, the library community and ALA also has had policy development resources available for libraries to use involving ‘maker spaces’ and 3D printing. So when we did start to get some inquiries, we were able to point them to those resources.”


At the Chicago Public Library, all jobs are reviewed by a CPL Maker Lab specialist before they are sent to print, according to CPL spokeswoman Alexandria Trimble.

“We are very strict in that we do not allow the printing of weapons or the likeness of weapons at CPL,” Trimble said in an emailed statement. “We wouldn’t allow a cosplayer to 3D print ninja throwing stars for C2E2.”


A number of suburban libraries — including Deerfield Public Library, Naperville Public Library, Park Ridge Public Library, Oak Park Public Library and Barrington Area Library — have policies in place that prohibit using printers to create weapons or objects that could be construed as weapons.

Direct to the Complete Chicago Tribune Article (approx. 1300 words)

See Also: 3-D Printing in Libraries: Policies & Best Practices  (via ALA)

See Also: Progress in the Making 3D Printing Policy Considerations through the Library Lens (via OITP/ALA)
21 pages; PDF. 

See Also: Progress in the Making Librarians’ Practical 3D Printing Questions Answered (via ALA)
4 pages; PDF.

See Also: Gun Control: 3D-Printed AR-15 Lower Receivers (via Congressional Research Service via EveryCRS)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.