The New Startup Garage for Innovation? Libraries!


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Libraries as the epicenter of innovation, technology and economic recovery? You bet your assets they are!

By finding creative ways to bring together techies, entrepreneurs, makers, and sometimes even angel investors, today’s libraries are able to inspire real life action that jumps off the page and into startup success. Find out how Princeton Public Library (NJ) is leveraging community collaborations with groups such as the Princeton Tech Meetup, Python Users Group in Princeton, the Princeton Chamber of Commerce and many more to create unique opportunities for social good and local growth.

This conversation will challenge you to rethink the role of the library in your community and encourage you to explore how libraries can be a focal point of insights, ideas and innovation. If you have been seeking a "real world” social platform that has the ability to bring together a mix of thinkers, tinkerers, coders and investors the library just might be your answer!

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The New Startup Garage for Innovation? Libraries!

  1. 1. Hewlett-Packard Garage Palo Alto, California Considered the “Birthplace of Silicon Valley”
  2. 2. Apple Garage Los Altos, California
  3. 3. The New Startup Garage? Libraries! Celebrating Words, Ideas and Community
  4. 4. Programming at Princeton Public Library Single-branch municipal library in the heart of downtown • Staff: 54 FTE • Population: 31,000 • Cross-departmental programming team of 15 staff members • Programs provided for all ages from infants to seniors • “Traditional” in-house programs as well as community outreach and virtual programs 1,700 Public Programs per year with attendance of 50,000 (on average)
  5. 5. March 2012 -- Princeton Tech Meetup organizers happy at their highly successful first meeting, but also talking and realizing they need a better venue than a bar. Photo: Khurt Williams
  6. 6. The immediate success of the first tech meetup made it necessary to find a more suitable location than the bar venue. By virtue of their location and being known by all as the “community’s living room”, the group’s first choice was to approach Princeton Public Library. In exchange for use of the space, the group gives back to the library and community by way of instruction in Computer Programming and Technology to any library patron across all age groups and experience levels.
  7. 7. Photo: Khurt Williams Plenty of networking at the 3rd Princeton Tech Meetup. By the 4th Meetup the room was at capacity and standing room only.
  8. 8. Pitching start up ideas, seeking coding assistance and/or investors is all part of a meetup. The group never knows when the magic connection will happen to get an idea moving forward with funding or coding. Photo: Khurt Williams
  9. 9. Success has allowed PTM to attract big name speakers and industry vets such as Brian Kernighan. Photo: Khurt Williams
  10. 10. The group has grown to 1,500+ members and now has to close off registration at 180 per meetup. Attendees are diverse, with a strong showing from women and minorities. Photo: Khurt Williams
  11. 11. Princeton Tech Meetup members also give back to the library by volunteering their time to do programs such as the hugely successful “Droid vs iOS Smackdown” and the follow up program “The Drupal vs. WordPress Great Debate”. The library promotes these events numerous ways, including via Facebook.
  12. 12. For more information on Princeton Public Library please visit: For Princeton Tech Meetup information or to attend a meetup visit: Celebrating Words, Ideas and Community