A Short History of 3D Services at Rodgers Library

Our 3D services started back in November 2012 where we made 3D printing available to the entire UA community. We had one Bits from Bytes 3D Touch Printer. I think we got more use out of that 3D Touch Printer than it was ever designed for! Students and faculty quickly started to fabricate 3D parts for scholarly work and classroom projects. We have seen so many exciting projects from art sculpture to robot parts to laboratory equipment.

Since 2012, we have gone through multiple 3D printers, have trained hundreds of users, and have successfully 3D printed thousands of parts. After the 3D Touch, we purchased a couple of MakerBots, and then two 3D Systems Cube Pros. We quickly outgrew the aforementioned hobbyist level 3D Printers and are now running two professional Stratasys uPrint SE 3D printers. About a year ago, we added a NextEngine 3D scanner and by early next year we will have two 3D stereoscopy workstations to further advance our 3D operations and services for the UA community. A huge thanks to our administration, Rodgers Staff, College of Engineering, and all of our users across campus for making our 3D Studio such a success.

Interestingly, while our 3D printers and training courses have evolved rapidly since our debut in late 2012, our core mission for 3D services has never changed. Rodgers Library 3D services are a self-service operation. We provide the tools and training, and then you do the 3D printing.

We are very proud of the scholarship that has been created across campus using the Rodgers Library 3D Studio. One of the areas that we have been focused on in Rodgers Library is 3D printing molecular structures. Over the past several years, we have had the pleasure of collaborating with numerous researchers on and off campus to help advance molecular visualization with 3D printed molecules, extended solids, and polymeric structures. Check out some of our work below (all open access too!):

Scalfani, V. F.; Williams, A. J.; Tkachenko, V.; Karapetyan, K.; Pshenichnov, A.; Hanson, R. M.; Liddie, J. M.; Bara, J. E. Programmatic conversion of crystal structures into 3D printable files using Jmol. Journal of Cheminformatics 2016, 8, 66. DOI: 10.1186/s13321-016-0181-z

Scalfani, V. F.; Turner, C. H.; Rupar, P. A.; Jenkins, A. H.; Bara, J. E. 3D Printed Block Copolymer Nanostructures. Journal of Chemical Education 2015, 92, 1866-1870. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.5b00375

Scalfani, V. F.; Vaid, T. P. 3D Printed Molecules and Extended Solid Models for Teaching Symmetry and Point Groups. Journal of Chemical Education 2014, 91, 1174-1180. DOI: 10.1021/ed400887t

If you have not visited our 3D Studio in Rodgers Library, I highly encourage you to do so!  You can take a short training course with one of our staff members and then immediately get started fabricating 3D parts independently. Check out our Standard Operating Procedures here for more information:


About Rodgers Library

Rodgers Library is a world-class library.  Rich and diverse collections cover all the sciences, engineering, and nursing.  The library’s major goal is to connect students and faculty with state-of-the-art research done by the world’s leading scholars.   Using sophisticated databases and a broad range of electronic resources, delivered over the Internet, the library is ready to help beginners and sophisticated researchers.  Many users access the library’s resources by computer from remote locations on Campus and from home.  Others visit the library at its physical location near Shelby Hall, at the northeast corner of the Campus.  Enjoy Rodgers Library!

Rodgers Library @25 Anniversary


Join the Celebration

Rodgers Library 25th anniversary celebration is this Thursday, October 15, 2015.  Rodgers Library will celebrate 25 years of service. In 1990, the all new Rodgers Library opened. The facility is a merger of two separate libraries, one for engineering (in H.M. Comer Hall) one for science (in Lloyd Hall). Much has happened over the past 25 years. Learn about our progress. Please come and celebrate with us. Location: Rodgers Library.


• 1:30 pm: music by professor Alan Lane (Chemical and Biological Engineering Department)
• 2:00 pm: brief remarks by Kevin Whitaker, Interim UA Provost
• Exhibits showing Rodgers timeline and progress
• Refreshments for all
• Giveaways

Tip 2: The Annex

Tip 2: The Annex. Beginning in 2003, we started to move books and bound journal volumes from Rodgers Library to the Annex. The Annex is closed stacks building located off 15th Street southwest of the Campus. To retrieve an item from the Annex while searching in Scout, go to Location bar near the bottom of the page and choose “Request this” and then click on “Place a hold, recall, or request for this item” If you are asking for a journal article, it will be scanned at the Annex and sent to your e-mail account.

Go to the Annex page.

Bistro-Style Tables Ready for Use

From our experience at Rodgers Library, we know that students like a variety of study spaces and furniture to choose from.  At present, standard study tables, some large, some small, are dispersed throughout the library.   Computer workstations are another familiar arrangement in the library.  Lounge chairs and casual seating are available as well.   When some space in the library was repurposed a couple of years ago, two bistro-style tables were added to the first floor.  This style of study table has been very popular with students.  This summer additional new space became available on the west side of the second floor after a major overhaul of the journal stacks.  In early May five (5) bistro-style tables will be installed in this area. Power is available in this area so all the new bistro-style tables will be wired and ready to accommodate users’ mobile devices.  Enjoy!

Makeover at Rodgers Library 99% Complete

Welcome new and returning students to this UA Fall 2012 semester. The renovations at Rodgers Library are nearly complete, save for a few accessories that need to be mounted and/or configured. We are very excited and pleased with the renovated 1st floor of Rodgers Library. New furnishings, new group study rooms, new computers, new technology, we’ve got it all.  The redesigned south end of the Rodgers Library first floor houses multiple work tables and computers loaded with scientific software. The area is completely surrounded by windows, likely one of the best views on campus. If you have not already seen the new Rodgers library, come check us out – you won’t be disappointed. Incidentally, we have a new Science and Engineering Librarian (yours truly). I just finished a graduate Ph.D. chemistry program myself and know how challenging it can be to navigate library resources. We are all very much looking forward to helping you succeed with your classes and research. Roll Tide.

Huge Makeover Coming to Rodgers Library

It’s going to be a busy summer in Rodgers Library, even with most of the students away.  For several months, the library has been planning for a major makeover of the public areas on the 1st floor.  Actual work will begin in about mid-May and last until early August.   With this project, we will completely transform much the area at the south end of the building.  After removal of the book stacks and demolition and removal of the existing reference desk, new carpet will be installed.  Once this is done, new furnishings will be added along with lots of new technology.  Our goal is to increase technology and accommodate more users, while at the same time create spaces which are more conducive to learning and research.  We aim to make the library more suitable for collaboration, recognizing that many students work on teams to complete assignments.  The addition of two new dedicated group study rooms are part of the project.   This is a huge development and the outcome, as distinguished by enhanced appearance and functionality, signals an auspicious beginning of the 21st century in Rodgers Library.


Historically, space has been a premium in libraries, as collections continued to grow and fill up the stacks.  This has been the case for Rodgers Library, too, at least until recently.   What’s changed?  First, the UA Libraries opened an off-campus storage building (the Annex) a few years ago.  This allowed for transfer of pre-1980 bound journals and some older books to the storage facility.  Electronic publishing, a more recent development, has helped the situation as well.  Journal issues arriving by the thousands each year have stopped coming.  In their place, Rodgers Library receives electronic journals.  Hence, the space crisis has disappeared, fortunately.  With “space recovery” come new opportunities.  Rodgers library is considering repurposing newly available space at this time.  This will benefit services aimed at the public, such as more reader tables and more group study areas.  Library patrons should watch for changes in space utilization in the coming months.

LibGuides – Pathways to Library Resources

LibGuides are compiled by librarians and are posted on Rodgers Library Web site under Subject Guides. The LibGuides provide our students and faculty with easy access to the library’s facilities, collections, and services. Useful selected resources and research assistance are included in these web-based LibGuides.  The LibGuides also  incorporate Web 2.0 tools such as Twitter, RSS feeds, and interactive polls. This content sharing system acts as a portal to specific subjects and each LibGuide is frequently updated and revised.  Check out Libguides on subjects such as Astronomy, Civil Engineering, Nursing and more on our website.

Useful Links: http://www.lib.ua.edu/libraries/sel/

Rotunda Dome Scheduled for Paint Job

UA Facilities will be busy adding  a new coat of paint to the Rotunda dome in Rodgers Library starting on Monday, August 10, 2009.  The project will take about three days to complete.  Rodgers Library will be closed to the public while the work is in progress.  User can access some library resources from the Rodgers Library Web site during this period.

SMART Board at Rodgers

A new SMART Board, an interactive whiteboard, is ready for use by students and others.  Installed in the Nightingale Group Study Room, the SMART Board is great for presentation and has all kinds of flashy features, such as touch screen navigation, intelligent drawing, color pens, and much more. The UF55 projector that’s a part of the system displays images with sharpness and clarity.  A very nice set up!

GEOCHRON Global Time Machine

  Is it daytime or nighttime in Fiji? What day is it in Mumbai? Where is the world illuminated by sunlight and obscured in darkness at any moment? You can learn more about these and other interesting geographic questions when viewing the new GEOCHRON on permanent display in Rodgers Library. If you are out and about the Campus sometime, stop by and see the GEOCHRON.