Books…Sure…But what Else

There is starting to be a buzz…just listen you will hear it … about a future library, which got me to thinking about what a modern library could do. Not what it could look like or where it might be, or how much it would cost, but what it could do. I recalled a story I heard about the City of Hamilton, ON library. At a time when many  libraries were thinking about how to cope with the increasing number of homeless souls using their spaces e.g., installing easily cleaned furniture and beefing up security, Hamilton library took a different tact and designed  space to embrace and serve this population. Social service and other helping groups were invited to use newly created office space to meet with their cliental, who were welcomed to use the library resources rather than dissuaded from hanging around. A quick look at Hamilton’s library website shows dozens of partnerships with these and other agencies.  …We could do that!

While it is a huge system the San Jose California Public Library is worth a trip around its website . Among the many items I find impressive is its outreach to businesses. In addition to providing meeting space (there is a cost) for small business meetings, innovative partnership provides an extensive network of resources for employment seekers, small business owners and entrepreneurs. Collaborative workspaces, videoconferencing, specialized collections and classes support business and entrepreneurial development. Along with partners at Acadia, NSCC, and Horton ….We could do that!

A few years ago a small group of people from several of the area Churches met from time to time to  consider topics of a social or societal nature where a way of viewing these issues incorporated not so much a religious view but I will call it a thoughtful view. It occurred to those who met that once we had left the hallowed classrooms of academia there was little opportunity to discuss, in a broad and knowledgeable way, those issues that are really fundamental to our humanity. Blessed as we are with Acadia’s faculty in our midst and an engaged and knowledgeable population, there are limited opportunities for these discussions at the community level. This activity has a name – Public Theology – and we struggled with the “theology” part of the title.  As part of a library program initiative however, a well facilitated discussion series, using the rich resources in our midst, well… We could do that!

Reaching out to those with no real place to go,  figuring out how to grow a business, coming together as a community to consider the weighty issues that face us today…Well a Library Could facilitate that!

These are just three ideas that could be incorporated in a new library. They are not focused on books, but they require information resources. They are not only about space, but they require flexible space. I would love to get a conversation going and growing about what type of services and programs you dream of in a future library for our community. I encourage you to leave your thoughts and comments below.


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