Libraries Transforming Communities

Here’s a great article with a Q&A from one of the initiative’s participant libraries:

“Turning Outward”: How Well Do You Know Your Community?
Thu, 07/17/2014
Editor’s Note: Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) — an initiative of the American Library Association — seeks to strengthen librarians’ roles as core community leaders and change-agents by sharing tools to help them “turn outward,” an approach developed by the The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. All of these resources are available, free of charge, on the LTC website.
Libraries around the country are already putting the “turning outward” approach to work in their communities. Alice Knapp is director of user services at the Ferguson Library in Stamford, Conn.; in October 2013, she attended a Harwood Public Innovators Lab. Here, Knapp tells ALA about her library’s experience with “turning outward.”…

Earlier this year, I toyed with the idea of submitting our library to take part in this. Unfortunately, the time demands were pretty high. Maybe next year (if it gets continued…). It seems like a great way to redirect the focus of library services for continuity.

Virtual business space @ your library

The one renovation desire that I have is for a virtual office space for patrons. It would be a space for people to “work from home” while enjoying all the necessities of an actual office: comfy seating, space to spread out documents, outlets always nearby, updated scanner/copier/fax machine, the ability to use cell phones, and maybe even a chance to collaborate.

I’m currently sitting in a local business that offers such a place for a price. They have a free Friday offer for newbies, so I thought I’d infiltrate and gather intel. I think this may be two hours of my life that I’m not getting back.

I honestly don’t see a benefit to working in their social business space versus the current library structure. Other than the ability to use your phone and a handy kitchen, the space itself is inadequate. Not only do the bright red tables have a distracting glare from the lights above, the seat is beginning to hurt my bum after about 90 minutes and I’m not a fan of chairs on rollers (I think it might be a short-person problem).

There’s also a TV that I keep catching out of the corner of my eye. Being a newbie and not wanting to step above my rank, I left the sound on until a regular opted to mute it. If I wanted these distractions, I’d just…work from home. This home office has led me to be more counterproductive that I had hoped.

I also think our library has already one-upped this business by providing mobile printing, which allows patrons to print wirelessly from their laptops. I see no option here and wonder, should I want to print, how I go about that. No clear information was given or appears readily available. [Note to self: signage and directions regarding technology usage must be easily visible.] Not that it matters because I’m running out of juice and there are only three outlets in view–none of which are easily accessible save for a few seats across the room.

But maybe it’s just me. The seats are 1/4 full so far and everyone seems to be plugging away at their respective endeavors. I wonder if, once a more accurately developed virtual office is in place at the library, people will opt for the free workspace. We shall see.