Unplugged at the Library

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The term “unplugged” can mean different things but there is a universal sense that it involves a departure from the fast-paced, overstimulating and sometimes frantic world of technology that propels so many of us through the day. Unplugging, then, suggests stepping away from the usual routine, purposefully establishing a quieter zone for undistracted action, interaction, or inaction. Libraries are important sources of access to technology and this will not change. At the same time, libraries are, at their core, about connection. Sometimes, to make those connections, people need to unplug—and libraries have found innovative ways to help patrons achieve that.

Yorba Linda Public Library’s Unplugged: A Music Lending Library takes a more literal approach to the unplugged theme and permits patrons to borrow acoustic guitars, ukuleles, and sheet music. For those considering the purchase of an instrument, preparing for an audition, or simply wanting to expand their musical repertoire, Unplugged at Yorba Linda offers an economical and convenient solution.

Once upon a time, games were played on boards, and people sat face-to-face at a table to play them. Six Mile Regional Library District’s Downtown Library has revived this tradition with Get Unplugged at the Library! The program features weekly game nights for families and bi-weekly game nights for adults. No batteries required!

Sometimes the call to unplug is even more primal. Wake Forest University’s ZSR Library recognizes that, between rigorous coursework, school activities and the omnipresence of technology, students sometimes hit a point of overload and need to step away and recharge. With a schoolwide focus on wellness and research that shows even short naps can increase productivity and reduce stress, the library introduced the ZieSta Room, a technology and noise free space for napping or quiet reflection. Reclining chairs beckon; students respond.

Does your library offer an innovative way to unplug? Let us know! Email: futureoflibraries@ala.org.

Learn more about how libraries are innovating in response to societal trends on the Libraries Transform website.

Visit ALA's Center for the Future of Libraries for an indepth view into the impact of societal trends on libraries.

Center for the Future of Libraries

The Center for the Future of Libraries works to identify trends relevant to libraries and the communities they serve; promote futuring and innovation techniques to help librarians and library professionals shape their future; and build connections with experts and innovative thinkers to help libraries address emerging issues. Learn more at www.ala.org/libraryofthefuture.