Libraries are unique cultural and educational places that offer collaborative learning opportunities. The library is a set of service concept(s) that provides opportunities for activity, help and engagement. According to Harvard Business Review “IDEO’s Culture of Helping,”the knowledge worker or users needs a culture where help is embedded. They need libraries for brainstorming and collaborative / project based work.
According to the Pew Internet – “How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities”, 67% percent of respondents would be personally impacted if their library closed. The patrons that use the library know its value in terms of the space. There are computing, socializing and areas to check out books.
It is a challenge for librarians and educators to show how “collaborative generosity” can be the norm in your community. The secret is to provide your community with a library that has enough seats for all potential learning activities. The increase in the amount of space for each new learning activity (reflective, collaborative, social, etc.) will enable opportunities for collaborative support.
At ALA Midwinter (#ala2014mw), librarians and educators discussed how to assess the under-served population. The dialog created some confusion over whether it was right to study non-user populations as well as user populations. Libraries need to study their communities strengths first. Collecting data about how the 29% of users who believe not having a library would make a big impact on their lives will deliver a wealth of data to help build future strategies.
WARM UP EXERCISE: Daniel Dalton in the Buzzfeed community developed a web page that captures some quotes as warm ups for planning and programming. The link includes 28 beautiful quotes about libraries.