3d printerBlair Murray, a 10-year-old fifth grade student from Clayton, peeks through a window to watch the new 3D printer at the Gloucester County Library System's Mullica Hill branch. The printer is part of a new "makerspace" of devices funded mostly by a $12,500 grant from the New Jersey State Library and LibraryLinkNJ. (Staff Photo by Greg Adomaitis)MULLICA HILL -You'll never look at thetoy aisle the same way again.Among the cutting-edge technology unveiled at theGloucester County Library System's Mullica Hill branch on Saturday was a 3D printer forming rows of tiny robot figuresfrom a spool of plastic right before your eyes.No machinery, no tools, no conveyor belt - just a printer, plans and some plastic."We're taking the traditional library system ... but moving it into the future. I'm quite serious, we're not sure where that future's going to be," said Gloucester County Freeholder Lyman Barnes, who serves asliaisonto the county library system.The Mullica Hill library's grand opening of their "MakerStudio@GCLS" on Saturday welcomed a large crowd of all ages to see a slew of new technology, includingthe 3D printer, 3D scanner, button-maker, serger sewing machine, and a digital media studio for recording music and videos.What'sbetter than having such resources at your local library It's free to use them after some training, savea nominal cost on certain materials.The $12,500 in funding for the "makerspace" initiative, as it's called, was provided by the New Jersey State Library, LibraryLinkNJ and the New Jersey Library Cooperative, whose services are funded by the New Jersey State Library.Sophie Brookover, program coordinator with Library Link NJ, said the makerspace is going to "grow and adapt to the needs of the community."Brookover, of Audubon, tried her hand at the sewing machine with some help from Diane McCormick, who worked at the Mullica Hill branch for 16 years then transferred to Greenwich Township.The sewing machine, with two needles and four spools of thread, accomplishes three jobs at once: It sews the seam, encloses the edges of the tiecesof fabric and trims off the excess as it sews.The button-making machine took a bare aluminum pin, the backing, a custom label and a ring, which was pressed down with a special machine toseal the deal.The MakerBot Replicator2, which drew the mostattention, is about the size of a standard desktop printer. Attached to the side was a spool of plastic that was fed to the printing nozzle and heated, thus slowly but surely building an intricatefigurinefrom the feet up."It's the kind of devices I probably wouldn't buy for home use, but it sure is handy to have at the library," Brookover said of the highly-specified technology now in Mullica Hill.Ralph Bingham, head of reference and digital services at the Mullica Hill branch, said when he started 20 years ago, there was one PC with dial-up Internet connection anda processor speed no faster than drying paint."We're creating a community space for people to come and create things," said Bingham. He noted that at school, many young students are learning the skills needed to tackle projects like the ones now possible at the library."That's where the creativity starts - at a young age," Bingham said before a dozen children in attendance helpedofficialscut the ribbon on the new stations.By the time fifth grader Blair Murray, of Clayton, graduates high school, who knows what these 3D printers and scanners will be capable ofMurray, who tried her hand at both the sewing machine and button-making machine,simply described the hardware around her as "cool," and that sounds about right.---Greg Adomaitis can be reached at . Find the South Jersey Times on Facebook.