Idea Share: The Library Mashup

The more I think about libraries these days, the more I want to experience a mash up of a public library, public space, and a community center. I think there’s only so much we can do in our traditional library space and that to grow and really impact a community we’ve gotta expand. We have a good grasp on what we’re doing inside our spaces. We’re running great programs & events. Our collections are awesome. What’s the next thing? For me, it’s this mashup that most appeals to me and provides the clearest example of how public libraries can have an enormous positive impact on a community.

A small example of this idea in action in my own world is the the Native Plants & Pollinator Garden at my library. I love how this garden is always there in the spring/summer to provide an experience and teach the community about something. It’s also good on the eyes. The project started last year and this year is the first where the plants are blooming beautifully. We’ve got our own flower fund started up to continue to raise money for the space. This year we’ve got about $200 coming in just to help these gardens. Right now we’re brainstorming about an art show centered around the garden that may happen in August. I’m investigating how much it would be to put up a descriptive panel (very similar to these story walk panels) near the garden to talk about the importance of native plants and pollinators in our community. We’re getting there step by step with this project and overall I think it’s making the library a stronger place in the community.

I have no idea what my idea of a mash up of a public library, public space, and a community center looks like at most libraries in America. I know each one of us in America are dealing with our own sets of issues, local politics, building projects, etc. At my library we simply don’t have the space right now to be a community center in addition to a library. We have our outdoor property and at some point we’ll have grown to use all of that as well. I am imagining that the mashup would also include a mashup of the library and other organizations in the community, an idea that’s very very similar to the one put forth by Ayub Khan in “Evolution not Extinction; Making the Case for Co-Locating Services in Multi-Use Buildings”. A trip to the library could be that AND also a trip to the post office, a trip to the community center to attend an event, and then capped off by a nice relaxing lunch in the gardens. It feels like this is the logical next step. This kind of thing is possible if we look into it, plan for this possible future, and make the connections we need to pull it off. I think this is a great way to invest in the future of your library and your community.19I have no idea what my idea of a mash up of a public library, public space, and a community center looks like at most libraries in America. I know each one of us in America are dealing with our own sets of issues, local politics, building projects, etc. At my library we simply don’t have the space right now to be a community center in addition to a library. We have our outdoor property and at some point we’ll have grown to use all of that as well. I am imagining that the mashup would also include a mashup of the library and other organizations in the community, an idea that’s very very similar to the one put forth by Ayub Khan in “Evolution not Extinction; Making the Case for Co-Locating Services in Multi-Use Buildings”. A trip to the library could be that AND also a trip to the post office, a trip to the community center to attend an event, and then capped off by a nice relaxing lunch in the gardens. It feels like this is the logical next step. This kind of thing is possible if we look into it, plan for this possible future, and make the connections we need to pull it off. I think this is a great way to invest in the future of your library and your community.

We constantly have to grow. You know that “change is a constant in our society these days” line and all of that other jargon people toss around about change? It’s true. You can have your moments in time where you celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but just as soon as you hit that point you’ve gotta go back to the drawing board and shake things up. This might just be the way to shake things up in the next ten years.

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