This started as a response to an article my dear friend Katie(@katiecharland) sent from All Cities sent about how libraries can evolve to be “3rd places.” But why limit my humble opinions to just her and gmail?
Oh Seth Godin (he’s mentioned in the original and his article about the future or not future of public libraries, fun stuff), the flames being fanned in his general direction.
As for this article, we (librarians) mostly agree. In fact many organizations do use our meeting rooms, small and large. The problem now is demand. Our rooms are so in demand we have to put in restrictions to offer a fair service to all community members. And I would venture that if a library can afford it then they probably have wi-fi or want it.
But again that is the issue, money. Much like school funding, the majority of funding is local taxes. Live in a nice, high tax area that supports and funds the library, awesome places. Don’t and too bad. Or tax revenues go down like in a recession and the library is first on the cutting block. We’re not seen as essential as police or fire. And the states are cutting library funding left and right, Save Ohio Libraries campaign is just the latest. And federal money is only for technology and only if you agree to filter computers for kids.
Skokie PL has an innovative Digital Media Lab that has video and web editing software along with Flips and digital cameras. One way they got support for the project was tying to an initiative to reach out to local and small business owners.
We’re trying, honestly.