The shelves of Champion Public Library are home to all manner of 3-D printed plastic creations, courtesy of the teenagers who come after school to design their own 3-D printing templates, plot coded courses for tiny robots, or just hang out and play Minecraft.
Youth Services Coordinator Stephanie Way said the library started introducing new things like the 3-D printer, 3-D printing pens, simple robots and video games as a way to update the library and introduce kids and teens to new technologies at the same time. The point is to get kids used to technology and teach them how to troubleshoot their own work, whether it’s a 3-D printed Death Star that didn’t quite come out right, or a small robot that won’t turn left when it’s been told to.
“What we’ve done with our youth programming has grown and grown, just in that amount of time,” Way said. “The way it’s going is awesome.”
 The library breaks out the technological toys on Friday afternoons after 3:30 for a loosely-organized period of time called “Teen Time,” where Way or another employee is on hand to answer questions and give pointers.
 “This whole age group is so into technology, and that’s just the way it is moving,” Way said. “You download your books instead of checking them out, they read on tablets, that’s just the way of the future. We can introduce it to them now, and then they’re that far ahead.”
The library has a few different things to choose from. Ozobots are small robots that teach basic coding skills. Toothbrush bots, which are even smaller, come with kits to make obstacle courses and mazes the robots must navigate. 3-D pens are glue-gun-like machines that heat up and melt down thin plastic making it a simpler, manual 3-D printer and allowing kids to make whatever they want quickly.
 The 3-D printer, on the other hand, takes more planning. Kids can choose a pre-made template from a website called Thingiverse, which teaches the basics of 3-D printing, or design their own template from scratch in a second program called Fusion. They can choose to either leave their work displayed in the library or take it home.
16-year-old Colton Peery said he’s been coming to the library for about two years to use the 3-D printer. He said he plans to study engineering when he graduates.
“They were just starting to get all of this, I don’t think they had the 3-D pens yet or the bots,” Peery said. “I sometimes check out books, but I’m mostly here for this.”
Way said the library is looking into adding Scratch coding cards, which teaches users how to build their own computer games.
“You can program it. It starts out very basic, and gets more and more elaborate as you get further and further into it,” Way said. “Then you can save it to an account, so you can log on from wherever, and your friends can play it. We’re really excited.”