For immediate release | March 2, 2016

ALA, Benetech to discuss 3D printing and educational equity at SXSWedu 2016

Austin, TX – The American Library Association (ALA) is teaming up with Benetech, a Silicon Valley-based non-profit technology company, for a session at the 2016 SXSWedu conference to discuss ways in which the education community – including libraries, museums and schools – can leverage 3D printing to create learning opportunities for students with print and other disabilities.

An often overlooked piece of the potential of 3D printers in education is their power to create a level playing field for learners of all abilities.

“3D printers have the capacity to yield tremendous progress in the field of education,” Lisa Wadors Verne, program manager, education and research partnerships, Benetech and one of the session speakers, said. “When educators and technologists speak of this capacity, they often point to the power of 3D printing to facilitate connected learning, demystify complex STEM topics and build critical skills for the modern workforce. We think this session, which is devoted to exploring the world of 3D printing and how it can help open the world of learning to all students, will provide valuable insights.”

Benetech proposed and submitted the program as a continuation of its Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS)-funded initiative to bring anchor institutions together to solve pressing learning challenges through 3D printing. Following are the session details:

WHEN: Tuesday, March 8, 2016, 2:30–3:00 p.m.


· Lisa Wadors Verne, program manager, education research and partnerships, Benetech

· Charlie Wapner, senior information policy analyst, ALA Office for Information Technology Policy

WHERE: Austin Convention Center Ballroom EFG, 500 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, Texas

To attend the conference session as a reporter, email Nancy Gravatt, press officer of the American Library Association’s Washington Office, at

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

About Benetech

Benetech empowers communities in need by creating scalable technology solutions. A different kind of tech company, Benetech develops technologies to tackle big social challenges neglected by for-profit companies. We have transformed how over 370,000 people with disabilities read with assistive technology; armed human rights defenders in over 100 countries with software and training to securely document crimes against humanity; and equipped environmental conservationists in over 170 countries with project management software to protect species and ecosystems. Founded in 2001 by MacArthur Fellow Jim Fruchterman, Benetech’s proven model of change identifies diverse areas of need, convenes stakeholders to collaboratively design solutions, and drives adoption to achieve long-term social impact. For more information, visit


Nancy Gravatt

Press Officer

ALA Washington

Washington Office