Re-Imagining The Public Library


This was a difficult choice for a Post title. I thought of “New Vision for Libraries” – since libraries need a new vision (noun), and librarians need new vision (verb). I thought of just using the author’s (Audrey Watters at Mind/Shift) title “The Public Library, Completely Reimagined” – since that is probably the best – but didn’t want to sound like I was plagiarizing. I thought of “Best Ideas in Unlikely Places”, but didn’t want to sound snarky – since I’m totally impressed. I also thought about what Jules Verne wrote in Around the World in Eighty Days, that “Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.”

So, I settled for this title with the intent to emphasize that…
THIS IS HOW LIBRARIES BECOME A 21ST CENTURY LIBRARY! – RE-IMAGINING WHAT IS POSSIBLE!

I’ve been writing all along that 21st Century Librarians Create 21st Century Libraries, and Lauren Smedley at the Fayetteville Free Library is proving me right – not to say ‘I told you so!’

… Lauren Smedley, who is in the process of creating what might just be the first maker-space within a U.S. public library. The Fayetteville [NY] Free Library where Smedley works is building a Fab Lab — short for fabrication laboratory — that will provide free public access to machines and software for manufacturing and making things.

So far, the Fab Lab is equipped with a MakerBot, a 3D printer that lets you “print” plastic pieces of your own design. … imagine being able to design and then manufacture — or “print” — whatever you want. Moreover, imagine the tools of manufacturing being in the hands of everyone, not just giant factories (and remember, since this is a public library, this is really putting the technology in the hands of everyone, not just those that can afford a membership at a traditional hackerspace).

Smedley says she plans on adding other equipment as well, including a CNC Router and a laser cutter. Smedley helped her library win a $10,000 innovation grant at the recent Contact Summit in New York and is also raising money via an Indiegogo campaign. She’s reaching out to local science teachers, as well as encouraging those already active in area hackerspaces and makerspaces to get involved.

WOW! Talk about 21st Century thinking! THAT is a perfect example of completely reimagining what the 21st Century public library can be!
Re-Imagining!
Innovation!
Collaboration!
Strategic partnerships!
Mission!
Relevance!
Meeting the needs of the small Syracuse suburb with a primarily manufacturing based economy!

So, the title is really more of a challenge to all librarians to use vision to catch a new vision of what their library can and should be, and become 21st Century Librarians to Create their own 21st Century Library.
Thank you Lauren. Thank you Audrey.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Re-Imagining The Public Library

  1. Thanks for this, Stephen. Wow, Libraries as centers for innovation and experimentation… That could be really relevant in a lot of communities.

  2. Pingback: Libraries move forward « bringyournoise

  3. What a great idea! I had thoughts of nurturing a library space where an incubator business, (something that might find a library a useful resource and collaborator) might develop, but this is really inspiring. Great campaign vehicle too!

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