Why Libraries Should Be the Next GreatStart-Up IncubatorsEMILY BADGERFEB 19, 201337 COMMENTSShutterstockinShare350SharePrintShare on emailEmail
Co-working spaces are often treated today as a novelty, as a thoroughly modern solution to thechanging needs of a workforce now more loyal to their laptops than any long-term employers. Butthe idea is actually as old as the public library.One of the world’s first and most famous libraries, in Alexandria, Egypt, was frequently home some2,000 years ago to the self-starters and self-employed of that era. “When you look back in history,they had philosophers and mathematicians and all sorts of folks who would get together and solvethe problems of their time,” says Tracy Lea, the venture manager with Arizona State University’seconomic development and community engagement arm. “We kind of look at it as the first templatefor the university. They had lecture halls, gathering spaces. They had co-working spaces.”This old idea of the public library as co-working space now offers a modern answer – one amongmany – for how these aging institutions could become more relevant two millennia after the originalAlexandria library burned to the ground. Would-be entrepreneurs everywhere are looking forbusiness know-how and physical space to incubate their start-ups. Libraries meanwhile may beassociated today with an outmoded product in paper books. But they also happen to have just abouteverything a 21st century innovator could need: Internet access, work space, reference materials,professional guidance.Why not, Lea suggests, put these two ideas together? Arizona State is planning in the next fewmonths to roll out a network of co-working business incubators inside public libraries, starting witha pilot in the downtown Civic Center Library in Scottsdale. The university is calling the plan,ambitiously, the Alexandria Network.Participating libraries will host dedicated co-working spaces for the program, as well as both formalclasses and informal mentoring from the university’s start-up resources. The librarians themselveswill be trained by the university to help deliver some of the material. The network will offereverything, in short, but seed money. “As we develop this pilot and start to scale it out,” Lea adds,“we would like to be able to direct people on how to find those resources.”Libraries also provide a perfect venue to expand the concept of start-up accelerators beyond therenovated warehouses and stylish offices of “innovation districts.” They offer a more familiar entry-point for potential entrepreneurs less likely to walk into a traditional start-up incubator (or an ASUoffice, for that matter). Public libraries long ago democratized access to knowledge; now they coulddo the same in a start-up economy.“We refer to it as democratizing entrepreneurship,” Lea says, “so everyone really can be involved.”Top image: gagliardifoto/Shutterstock
As much as I encourage libraries to innovate and become something more, this particularidea seems beyond the capabilities of a vast majority of libraries. The notion that librariesoffer "professional guidance" for "a 21st century innovator" is grossly misinformed bythe author, if not totally absurd. If library staff were capable of offering professionalguidance to innovators and entrepreneurs, their own organization wouldnt be in the toughstraits they find themselves today - looking for a new mission.Offering Internet access - of course. Offering work space - sure. Offering referencematerials - absolutely. But, professional guidance - thats dreaming. Not to mention thatas soon as some disgruntled, disappointed, and bankrupt "would-be entrepreneur" decidesit was the "professional guidance" they received at the library that sank their business, thelibrary will be in for the lawsuit of its life. o Im a librarian, going on my sixteenth year of public service. We have volunteers from SCORE (http://www.score.org ) as well as other professionals come in and give programs, run workshops and offer guidance to entrepreneurs. Librarians at my library teach beginning and intermediary computer classes and some are trained in doing expert market research and prospecting research using sophisticated databases. So its a partnership. I think this article is suggesting a change in direction that should be welcome to both forward thinking librarians and entrepreneurs. Also: libraries are busier and more competently staffed than Ive ever seen them in my lifetime. Check out the ALAs latest state of the libraries report (http://www.ala.org/news/mediap... ) if you dont believe me. Libraries are only in "tough straits" because of huge mistakes and deceptions made by misinformed and greedy people in the banking and investment fields. Forward thinking librarians like those featured in this article should be commended for trying to be part of the solution to a problem they did not create. Strategic partnerships are the best, and for business related projects SCORE is also the best. Librarians teaching computer classes is also an excellent program and the partnership you describe sounds perfect, and innovative librarians deserve commendation. However, where I take exception is with the partnership described in this article that promotes public librarians providing "professional guidance to innovators and entrepreneurs" which is far beyond most librarians expertise. Librarians highly competent (and I certainly wont argue with their competence being higher than ever before) in librarianship is a far cry from being competent to provide "professional guidance."
Steve, youre misreading "professional guidance" in this article. Taken in context this phrase is clearlyreferring to the ability of librarians to guide patrons in their access to and use of library resources, NOTthe ability of librarians to offer any specific business advice.The "professional" part of "professional guidance" refers to the librarians themselves, not to theresearch interests of the patrons; otherwise, the phrase would be something like "entrepreneurialguidance." As for delivering material, the article makes it clear that ASU has developed and/or compileda collection of materials specific to the issues of start-ups. Training librarians to help patrons access thisspecific set of materials, as they are trained to assist with any major reference resource, falls well shortof your notion that librarians will be expected to give specific advice on particular business decisions.The "professional" part of "professional guidance" refers to the librarians themselves, not to theresearch interests of the patrons; otherwise, the phrase would be something like "entrepreneurialguidance." As for delivering material, the article makes it clear that ASU has developed and/or compileda collection of materials specific to the issues of start-ups. Training librarians to help patrons access thisspecific set of materials, as they are trained to assist with any major reference resource, falls well shortof your notion that librarians will be expected to give specific advice on particular business decisions.
A Non-Hipster Approach to a Co-Working SpaceA new initiative introduced by Arizona State University works with libraries to createco-work spaces where entrepreneurs can gain training and support. Jetta Productions
Though myriad co-work spaces already operate in public libraries across the U.S., ArizonaState University is taking it to the next level.Arizona State University’s Venture Catalyst start-up unit and the Scottsdale Public LibrarySystem have announced the introduction of the Alexandria Network, a system of co-workspaces for entrepreneurs in public libraries across Arizona. Whats novel? The program willcollaborate with libraries to reach entrepreneurs who may be less savvy than their peers andactually train library staff to deal with entrepreneurs.“A lot of co-working spaces are targeting a particular type of person--this is more broad,"Gordon McConnell, Assistant Vice President of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and VentureAcceleration at ASU told Inc. "It’s probably for people that wouldn’t go to hipster co-working spaces. It’s great that those are happening—they’re an important foundation levelto entrepreneurship. This is democratizing it a little bit."McConnell also hopes the co-work spaces will be appealing to those among the growingpopulation of entrepreneurs over age 50.“Those are the people we’re trying to target, and they’ll be geographically spread out,” headded.The pilot space will open in the Scottsdale Civic Center Library in early April, at which timethe initiative also expects to announce the opening of six to eight more locations.In addition to the work space, the library staff will be trained to provide basic assistance tothose who visit the spaces seeking guidance on starting a business. Workshops on topicssuch as "Business Models vs. Business Plans" and "Legal Concerns for Startups" arecurrently open to both entrepreneurs and the library staff members learning to help them.In response to the new intitiave, McConnell said, "[Library staff] were like, Yeah, this isgreat. We need to change. We don’t have this background in working with start-ups, you cansupport us."http://www.inc.com/kathryn-dill/beyond-the-books-arizona-libraries-welcome-new-entrepreneurs.html
New role for public libraries: small businessincubatorsBy Joe McKendrick | February 19, 2013, 1:24 PM PST3Commentsmore + Email Print Del.icio.us Digg LinkedIn Reddit TechnoratiThe ultimate coworking space may have already been sitting in the middle of your town orcity for decades now — the public library.That‘s the viewThe Atlantic’s Emily Badger puts forth in this proposal that provides an aginginstitution a new mission that makes really good use of tax dollars, while providing venues thatpromote startups and entrepreneurship. Libraries ―have just about everything a 21st centuryinnovator could need: Internet access, work space, reference materials, professional guidance,‖she observes.For the past few years, public libraries have been seeing strong demand to serve as resourcecenters for unemployed or underemployed job hunters, providing career reference materials andInternet access.In a survey of 730 library managers I helped conduct in conjunction with Library ResourceGuide, we found that many see their institutions as hubs that will help address the gap betweenunemployment and skills shortages among employers. Seven out of ten report increasing demand
for Internet access, and more than one-third say they are seeing more patrons seeking technicalinformation/training or job search/career development information.By extension, if public libraries are operating as de facto employment opportunity and trainingcenters, it‘s not too much of a stretch to see them providing supportive environments for startupsand small businesses.Some libraries are already re-inventing themselves as 3D printing centers or hackerspaces. In2011, the Fayetteville Free Library of Fayetteville, NY assumed a new mission in efforts to serveits constituencies with 3D printing facilities — the ―FFL Fab Lab‖ is a space set aside with 3Dprinting technology, which seeks to encourage innovation and learning of the concept.Badger says the idea of transforming libraries into small business workspaces will soon be put topractice by Arizona State University, which intends to ―roll out a network of co-workingbusiness incubators inside public libraries, starting with a pilot in the downtown Civic CenterLibrary in Scottsdale.‖ The plan is ambitious:―Participating libraries will host dedicated co-working spaces for the program, as well as bothformal classes and informal mentoring from the university‘s start-up resources. The librariansthemselves will be trained by the university to help deliver some of the material. The networkwill offer everything, in short, but seed money.‖(Photo credit: U.S. Bureau for Ocean Energy Management.)Start your week smarter with our weekly e-mail newsletter. Its your cheat sheet for good ideas.Get it.http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/new-role-for-public-libraries-small-business-incubators/13154
http://www.libraryresource.com/Downloads/ResearchReportshttp://bcove.me/z8wgm7du Transforming Knowledge in the Age of the Internethttp://bcove.me/3pkmcvouTransforming the Library Empirehttp://bcove.me/fqty85x8 Libraries Transformed
NEWSFor Immediate ReleaseApril 9, 2012Contact: Macey Morales2012 State of America’s Library Reportshows free access to information in jeopardy ALA releases Top Ten List of Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2011CHICAGO — Publishers limiting library e-book lending, budget cuts and book challenges are just a few library trends ofthe past year that are placing free access to information in jeopardy. These trends as well as other are detailed in the 2012State of America‘s Libraries Report released today by the American Library Association (ALA) in conjunction withNational Library Week (April 8 – 14).The rapid growth of e-books has stimulated increasing demand for them in libraries, but libraries only have limited accessto e-books because of restrictions placed on their use by publishers. Macmillan Publishing, Simon and Schuster andHachette Book Group refused to sell e-books to libraries. HarperCollins imposed an arbitrary 26 loans per e-book license,and Penguin refused to let libraries lend its new titles altogether. When Random House raised e-book prices, the ALAurged it to reconsider. ―In a time of extreme financial constraint, a major price increase effectively curtails access for manylibraries, and especially our communities that are hardest hit economically,‖ Molly Raphael, ALA president, said in astatement.The single-minded drive to reduce budget deficits continued to take its toll on essential services at all levels of society in2011, with teachers and librarians sometimes seen as easy targets for layoffs. Even the federal Institute of Museum andLibrary Services suffered budget cuts, and the Library of Congress lost nearly 10 percent of its workforce.School librarians faced especially draconian budgetary challenges in 2011. Cuts began at the federal level in May 2011,when the Department of Education eliminated fiscal 2011 funding for the Improving Literacy Through School Librariesprogram, the only federal program solely for school libraries in the United States. The effects were soon felt at the stateand local levelsAcademic librarians and their colleagues in higher education in the United States also continued to navigate a ―newnormal,‖ characterized by stagnating budgets, unsustainable costs, increased student enrollments and reduced staff.Even during a period of budget battles, however, the library community, led by the ALA, stood firm against censorship.Internet-age versions of copyright and piracy issues shot to the forefront as 2011 turned into 2012, and the acronymsSOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (the PROTECT IP Act of 2011) became part of the vocabulary as the libraryand First Amendment communities took a strong stand against proponents of the legislation.Book banning efforts were alive and well in 2011. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) received 326 reportsregarding attempts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves. The Top Ten MostFrequently Challenged Books of 2011 include the following titles; each title is followed by the reasons given forchallenging the book: 1) ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle Offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group 2) The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa Nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group 3) The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins Anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
4) My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by DoriHillestad Butler Nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group 5) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie Offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group 6) Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint 7) Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley Insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit 8) What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones Nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit 9) Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar Drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit 10) To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee Offensive language; racism*A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or othermaterial be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness.The State of America‘s Libraries Report documents trends in library usage and details the impact of library budget cuts,technology use and the various other challenges facing U.S. libraries. The full Report is available athttp://www.ala.org/news/mediapresscenter/americaslibraries/soal2012.
3D printing: coming to a library near youBy Joe McKendrick | November 14, 2011, 2:11 PM PST7Commentsmore + Email Print Del.icio.us Digg LinkedIn Reddit TechnoratiA few months back, we talked about the challenges faced by libraries in the era of ebooks, digitalinformation and shrinking budgets. An emerging idea, now being pioneered at one New Yorkstate library, is to offer 3D printing facilities to enable constituents to develop and innovate newideas and products.The Fayetteville Free Library of Fayetteville, NY recently has assumed a new mission in effortsto serve its constituencies with 3D printing facilities. The ―FFL Fab Lab‖ is a space set asidewith 3D printing technology, which seeks to encourage innovation and learning of the concept.At the foundation of the FFL‘s Fab Lab will be a MakerBot Thing-o-Matic 3D printer, donatedto the library. The Fab Lab‘s 3D printer uses plastic as its raw material.
As stated on the library‘s Fab Lab Website, the goal is to provide what is known as a―hackerspace‖ to the local public, providing access to equipment that may be too expensive topurchase on an individual basis:―These spaces, known as Fabrication Labs (fab labs), Hackerspaces, and Tech Shops, sharecommon goals: collaboration and ‗making.‘ They exist to give their specific communities theability to ‗make‘ through sharing knowledge and skills. They provide the technology necessaryto make almost anything. However, these spaces often provide services to a specific or targetedgroup and are not easily accessible to ‗outsiders‘ - traditional Fab Labs are tied to MIT and aregenerally found in underserved communities, Hackerspaces have membership fees, and Tech-Shops, on average, cost around $1.5 million to start. Imagine - what if the Fayetteville FreeLibrary had similar tools as MIT at its fingertips (at an affordable cost), with the knowledgenecessary to use them?‖As discussed on this website, along with its high customization, 3D printing offers enormouspotential to minimize the costs of mass production, and even bring a lot of that production backto the domestic economy. The Fayetteville Fab Lab may also kick-start a new role for publiclibraries as well — as incubators and resource centers for new businesses and innovations.Phillip Torrone first pitched this idea in Make Magazine a few months back — proposing a new,entrepreneurial and innovator incubator role for the nation‘s 9,000 public libraries:―If the only public space where 3D printers, laser cutters, and learning electronics happens is infee/memberships-based spaces (TechShops, hackerspaces), that will leave out a segment of thepopulation, who will never have access. FabLabs often are geared towards under-servedcommunities, so perhaps it will be a combination of FabLabs and hackerspaces. What if we wereto convert just 1% or even 10% of the 9,000 public libraries in the USA to TechShops?‖For her part, Lauren Smedley, the genius behind Fayetteville‘s Fab Lab, ―wants to prove thatlibraries aren‘t just about books,‖ as quoted by KQED. ―They are about free access toinformation and to technology — and not just to reading books or using computers, but actuallybuilding and making things.‖Smedley also would like to add a CNC Router and laser cutter to the Fab Lab‘s inventory, andalso plans to offer free classes and programs on 3D Printing, 3D design software training, andcomputer programming.http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/business-brains/3d-printing-coming-to-a-library-near-you/19964
Why Libraries MatterPosted: 11/22/2011 8:24 amReactInspiringFunnyTypicalImportantOutrageousAmazingInnovativeBeautifulRead moreAmerican Library Association , Library Budget Cuts , Ala, Helping Libraries , Libraries ,Libraries In Crisis , Libraries In Crisis , Library Budget , Library Problems , Public Libraries ,Books Newsshare this story4015126Submit this storydiggredditstumbleThis blogpost is part of our ongoing series on Libraries In Crisis.It seems that every time you pick up a newspaper or visit a website, you find a story aboutlibraries facing major budget cuts.The recession has proven a double edged sword for public libraries.On the one hand, as the economy remains stagnant, deep budget cuts will continue to pose athreat to library service. According to the American Library Associations 2011 State ofAmericas Libraries Report, 21 states reported cuts in state funding for public libraries fromfiscal 2010 to fiscal 2011. Of these, nearly half indicated that the cuts were greater than 10percent. The study also found that cuts at the state level were often compounded by cuts at thelocal level, the source of most library funding.
On the other hand, the struggling economy has fueled renewed interest and use in library services,with Americans capitalizing on free access to books, magazines, e-books, DVDs, the Internetand professional assistance. And public libraries are also serving as a lifeline for people trying toadapt to challenging economic circumstances, providing technology training and onlineresources for employment, access to government resources, continuing education, retooling fornew careers and starting a small business.Libraries not only benefit their users individually. They also act as community hubs, bringingpeople together and connecting them to worlds beyond their communities. Libraries offer morethan just books; they are community centers where everyone has access to programs and servicesthat fuel lifelong learning.In nearly all communities, it is not unusual to see patrons lining up outside of library branches,waiting for their doors to open. Public libraries serve as a lifeline for those who need access totechnologies such as computers and wireless environments. Libraries offer more than just access;they are staffed with trained professional librarians who assist library patrons in finding whatthey seek among the myriad of "hits" that Internet search engines generate.Many communities across the country depend on public library staff and technology servicesmore than ever. According to the 2011 Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study, anannual report produced by the American Library Association (ALA) with support from the Billand Melinda Gates Foundation, more than 65 percent of public libraries report that they are theonly source of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities. There is noquestion that demand for library computer access will continue to flourish as more employersand government agencies not only provide information exclusively in a digital format but alsorequire information to be submitted on line.Every library in the country has similar stories. Americas libraries are helping Americasworkers return to work. Libraries are a lifeline for job-seekers. More than 74 percent of librariesoffer software and other resources to help patrons create resumes and employment materials, and72 percent of libraries report that staff helped patrons complete online job applications. A smallexample, repeated over and over in libraries across the country, will illustrate this point. InPortland, OR, a laid-off, middle-aged housekeeper, who had never used a computer, found a newhousekeeping job with a major department store with the assistance of library staff who helpedher complete a multi-page, online-only application.Chicagos public library is also doing its part to help residents avoid potholes in the long road toeconomic recovery. Several branches host programs on using e-mail to help in the job search, aswell as programs on starting a small business and even one on getting good deals on everythingimaginable. The Chicago Public Library, like many other libraries, also offers free passes tomany of Chicagos other cultural institutions.The demand for library service is so great in Chicago that when Mayor Rahm Emanuelannounced that he planned to cut hours and eliminate library positions, the community foughtback. After public outcry from Chicago aldermen and their constituents, Mayor Emanuelrestored $3.3 million to the library budget, allowing for a full six-day-a-week schedule and
preventing the layoff of more than 100 library employees. Cuts were still made to ChicagoPublic Libraries, but community support lessened the blow.We need library supporters to continue to step forward all across the country. Many have and theresults are impressive; decision-makers listen to what people in their communities want.Libraries design their services to meet the diverse needs of their specific communities so it is notsurprising that people fight for what matters to them. Resources are available to helpcommunities at ILoveLibraries.org.In this economy everyone is expected to do more with less, but it is my hope that localgovernments understand that every service hour lost in our libraries translates into lostopportunities to connect people to distance education, employment opportunities and hands-onhelp.Libraries provide an anchor of stability for millions of Americans tightening their financial beltsduring these tough economic times. As our nation - indeed the world - struggles to emerge fromthis economic crisis, we cannot afford to close the books on libraries. Libraries are very much apart of the solution, not just for individuals but for whole communities. We make essentialresources available within our walls and in virtual space. Every hour lost, every building closed,every librarian laid off means less access for fewer people, just at a time when people need us themost. We need our diverse publics to speak out and say, "Libraries are essential for learning andessential for life."http://www.huffingtonpost.com/molly-raphael/why-libraries-matter_b_1107419.htmlhttp://www.oclc.org/reports/2010perceptions/2010perceptions_all.pdfOCLA perceptions of libraries
Web Extra: Public Libraries in the Digital AgeMetroFocus | THIRTEEN, by Marisa Wong, February 27, 2013NYC Libraries: Despite City Cuts, Attendance SpikesMetroFocus | THIRTEEN, by Beth Garbitelli& Greg Jacobs, February 25, 2013Kings Highway Library has become the borough’s top-performing branch thanks to immigrantsNew York Daily News, by Lore Croghan, February 11, 2013Despite drop in money, library attendance is higher than everamNew York, by Tim Herrera, February 03, 2013How budget cuts are affecting the New York City Public Library’s workCUNY TV Independent Sources, January 30, 2013Report finds foreign bookworms in boroQueens Chronicle, by Joseph Orovic, January 24, 2013Despite cuts, more Bronxites are using public librariesThe Riverdale Press, January 24, 2013Circumstance and opportunity collide to make libraries relevant againUpstart Business Journal, by AnikaAnand, January 22, 2013Local library branches score for busiest in New York CityBronx Times, by Kirsten Sanchez, January 21, 2013Borough library caters to immigrants’ special needsQueens Times Ledger, by Rich Bockmann, January 19, 2013Queens Library Hits High MarksQueens Tribune, by Megan Montalvo, January 17, 2013Giving Libraries Their DueWNYC Brian Lehrer Show, January 15, 2013Proposal Would Replace Shuttered Brooklyn Libraries With New Spaces
Wall Street Journal, by Jennifer Maloney, January 15, 2013Brooklyn Public Library May Close Older Carnegie BuildingsCurbed NY, by Jessica Dailey, January 15, 2013BK libraries striding toward the future with new technologyNews 12 Brooklyn, January 15, 2013Library Eyes New PageWall Street Journal, by Jennifer Maloney, January 14, 2013The New York Public Library Highlights Essential Service Following “Branches of Opportunity” ReportNY Public Library, January 14, 2013East Flatbush residents say two-year renovation at local library will leave them out in the coldNYDailyNews, by Mark Morales, January 10, 2013New York City Public Libraries Open Fewer Hours Than Libraries in Other Major CitiesNext City, by David Giles, January 10, 2013New report shows the Bronx with fastest growth in public library usage of any boroughNYDailyNews, by Patrice OShaughnessy, January 10, 2013New Report From NYC Think Tank Looks at Future of All Three New York City Public Library SystemsInfo Docket, by Gary Price, January 09, 2013More people than ever using New York’s public librariesMelville House Books, by Ellie Robins, January 09, 2013What Does the City’s Recovery Need? More LibrariesCity Limits, by David Giles, January 09, 2013City library support, years overdueNYDailyNews, by David Giles, January 09, 2013Startup News: Kickstarter and IndieGogo Show Off Their Metrics and Middle Schoolers Get AppyBeta Beat, by Ross Barkan, January 09, 2013
Today’s Report: City’s Libraries Serving More People In More Ways Than Ever BeforeGotham Gazette, by Cristian Salazar, January 09, 2013Center for Urban Future Releases Report on NYC Library TrendsMetroFocus, January 08, 2013As Use of Libraries Grows, Government Support Has ErodedThe New York Times, by Sam Roberts, January 08, 2013The Future of LibrariesWNYC, January 08, 2013New Report on Libraries Transforming in the Digital AgeWNYC-New Tech City Blog, by ManoushZomorodi, January 08, 2013NY1 Online: Examining Growing Importance Of Public LibrariesNY1, by Road To City Hall, January 07, 2013