Libraries are experimenting with some exciting ways to inspire and engage the community by creating meeting and maker spaces with old technology and new
a report just released by the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries asks us again to reconsider how the library can serve communities in the 21st century. “Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries” aims to “capture the momentum and excitement of the innovations taking place in public libraries across the country, and the impact these are having on communities,” said the group’s director, Amy Garmer. The report asks: With all the new technology and layered networks, what can be done beyond current advancements?
“We are a place for the curious, for creativity, a place for learning, a place to experiment. It’s always been the mission of the library. We’re just using different tools.”
The Dialogue on Public Libraries group is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries Program and is made up of 34 library field leaders, business executives, government officials, education experts and community development visionaries. The group aims for more than just holding up great examples of libraries working well in the digital age.
“We want to provide a catalyst for new thinking about libraries as platforms for learning, creativity and innovation in their communities, and the creation of new networked forms of libraries,” Garmer said. If the report could spark engagement at the local, state and national levels to rethink how to use libraries and then constructively act on it, Garmer said, then the group’s goal will have been achieved."