Evolution not Extinction; Making the Case for Co-Locating Services in Multi-Use Buildings by Ayub Khan


Back in 2011, I wrote a little blip of a thing about how neat it would be to see post offices in libraries. I never got around to trying the idea myself (but hey hey I’m still here in small town Titusville and I need something to do!) but yesterday I was very happy to see that this kind of stuff is actually happening in the world and that these projects are looking great! As I scrolled through Twitter looking for some library inspiration, I came across an article on the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) titled Evolution not Extinction; Making the Case for Co-Locating Services in Multi-Use Buildings by Ayub Khan. THIS ARTICLE, THESE ACTIONS, AND THIS FORWARD THINKING BLEW MY MIND! I highly suggest you check out what Ayub has shared with all of us…it is very inspiring and it is a trend I hope to see catch on more all around the world. Here’s the hook that snagged me and pulled me in:

Public libraries are evolving, not dying out. They are re-inventing themselves as they have done throughout their history in response to socio-economic shifts, demographic pressures, changing customer demands and expectations, and the digital age. Many look and feel a lot different, particularly on the inside. Makeovers reflect the different ways libraries are used nowadays. When I started my career almost three decades ago, around 70% of library space was traditionally occupied by books and borrowing points, with only 30% for other activities. Now it is the other way around. Similar figures apply to the balance between front-of-house and backroom space in libraries.

Searching around (and thanks to some readers and tweeters) I came across some more examples of this libraries plus other services in the same space movement. Enjoy, and be inspired!

Starfield Coex Mall (South Korea) Opens A Massive 50,000 Book Library
Lincolnshire Coop merges libraries, pharmacies, post offices, and food stores
Yarm Library co-locates with Newcastle Building Society
Ashburton library co-location with a post office

More libraries should be trying this out! Are you? If so comment and leave your story. I would love to hear it.

Libraries, Social Media, Technology, Video Games

Debacle by Design: Building a Game That Won’t Make Money

Debacle by Design- Building a Game That Won’t Make Money - State of Play -

Over the past few months, I’ve been chatting/brainstorming/working with the amazing Kellian Adams of Green Door Labs on an amazing game called Project Arachne (if you want background on the project, read this article here!)

We’ve got the team together and we’re moving forward with the project.  Our next step is, as Kellian puts it ever so perfectly:

Okay, now’s the hard part. How do we fund it? We’re working with a library, so we can’t charge people to play. We also can’t get budget dollars from the library’s annual fund, because this is an experimental game, not something that’s sanctioned in the budget of a public place. We can find a corporate sponsor that might be willing to work with us. We can build the game in a way that it will travel to other libraries that could license it and offset some of our initial costs. We could also crowdsource it, but that hasn’t been really been done with this type of library project before. We could also write about a million grant proposals. I’d been chatting with some incredible educational media producers, like TERC EdGE and the Kickin’ Kitchen video project, who have been funded by grants.

That’s where we are now and you know what?  That’s totally cool.  We believe in Project Arachne and we are just jazzed to be working on this together as a team.  Kellian goes on in her post to sum everything up:

Just don’t expect that a “game that will never make money” will suddenly and magically make money. It will most likely lose time and money – and you and your team will be so proud of the time and money that you lost. You’ll love it and be glad that you did it.

I’m just so honored that Kellian picked me to be on her team.

Know any libraries that may be interested in Project Arachne?  Get in touch with Kellian @ Green Door Labs:

Libraries, Technology


Week of Dec 17, 2012 at Portland Public Library - Main Branch- 5 check-ins, down 29% from last month - - Gmail

Do you manage your library Foursquare page?  If so, are you seeing stats like these?

NOTE: My library doesn’t run any specials with Foursquare (or even promote it heavily).


foursquare: a review

If you’re reading this, you probably already know what foursquare is.

If not, read this!

At first, foursquare creeped me out.  I had that cliche “I don’t want people to know where I am” attitude that always comes up when foursquare is mentioned.  But then I realized that location based social networking was a new thing for me.  New is scary.  I gotta stop being a pain in the arse and understand this tool.   So I dove in.

I still didn’t get it.  Living in Cape May County, NJ, I quickly became mayor of the whole darn county.  No one was using foursquare.  I was adding venue after venue and for what?  I still don’t know.  Specials were not being offered by the venues.

Maybe my efforts are now being used by the “next generatinon (ha)” of foursquare users in the county.

The value of foursquare really hit me when I moved to Portland, ME in March 2010.  Here I was, now living in a city with legitimate restaurants, venues, and stores.  There was so much for me to discover…but how could I tackle city living?  Enter foursquare.

  • Tips: People actually added tips to the venues I was checking in.  For example: when I checked into the local fair trade coffee shop Others! I got a message popping up saying to check out a place called Tony’s Donuts.  Yum.  Goodbye Dunkin’ Donuts, hello local goodness.
  • Friends: Holy crap!  Other people use foursquare in this city!  Even if you don’t know people, add some people as your foursquare friends and see what they’re up to.  Nothing brings people together like food.
  • Twitter/Facebook: It may cause a lot of  “noise” on Twitter and Facebook, but sharing your check ins on these social media sites will lead to more interaction with your community.  The downside?  Joe or Stacey from Nebraska probably don’t want to hear how you’re enjoying some Yaki Udon at Fuji in Portland, ME.  The plus?  Your new friend from Portland, ME may recommend something at Fuji to go along with your meal.

Of course, there are drawbacks to foursquare …

  • Game: There are gonna be some folks that think foursquare is a game.  Yes, you get points.  Yes, you can get badges.  But, and this is just in my own opinion, foursquare isn’t a game.  It’s a tool for sharing information about your community.  It is a tool to promote local business.
  • “Cheating”: I used quotes because I don’t really know what else to call it.  It’s just too dang easy to check into locations that you’re not at.
  • Multiple venues: So, let’s just say I REALLY want to be the mayor of my library, but someone has 50 check ins at the building and there’s no way I’m gonna become mayor.  An easy way around this?  Create a new listing for the venue.  Once again, not cool.  Maybe it is the librarian in me, but I’d prefer one listing per venue with correct contact information.  Perhaps foursquare should look into hiring a librarian?

All in all, foursquare helped me get adjusted to life in my new city.  For that, I am thankful.  However, I have no real desire to become mayor of every venue in this town.  I find myself checking in less and less as I learn more about my city.  My point?  foursquare is a great tool for discovering new things.  Once you’ve done that, it may be time to move on.  I sort of have.