Innovation

Unplugged at the Library

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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. 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.

The Power of Collective Impact

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Collective impact channels the knowledge and resources of multiple partners towards a specific social problem. With their commitment to meeting patrons needs, libraries seek ways to serve and strengthen their communities. Sometimes, however, the needs rise beyond the conventional realm of library services—and this has been particularly true since the recession. Through the strength of non-traditional partnerships, libraries offer innovative solutions to a variety of challenges faced by their communities.

Game On at the Library!

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There is something about play that we humans are wired for and, even as adults, we get a charge from the opportunity to combine skill, chance and a bit of moxie. Gaming and gamification have brought elements of play into previously staid realms. Similarly, they have transformed the way libraries offer learning for patrons of all ages. From escape rooms to competitive reading, libraries are finding new ways to up their game.

Connected Learning Links Library Patrons with their Passion

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Advanced digital tools have rendered the world a classroom. The problem is, it’s a really big classroom and can overwhelm even the most earnest student. In this way, connected learning refers not just to the technology, but to the substance of the experience.  In today’s wired environment, access to digital tools and opportunities to engage in self-selected, self-guided and self-paced learning provide new avenues for learning.  Curation of those digital tools by professional librarians ensures that library patrons are not only plugged in, but tuned in as well. Or, if you will, connected.

Libraries Embrace the Sharing Economy

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The term “sharing economy” became popularized during the Great Recession but libraries have used a sharing model for millennia. Today, libraries intersect with the sharing economy in a number of ways, from breaking barriers in the types of resources exchanged to the use of technology to broker the sharing. Whether economic necessity or a new form of community building, the sharing economy shows no signs of slowing down. How this plays out in libraries across the country is a reflection of the diverse needs and wishes of the communities served.

Libraries Innovate to Serve Digital Natives

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Libraries are essential in providing equitable access to digital resources for their communities.  Being born into the digital age does not guarantee access to digital technology; consequently, what exactly it means to come of age as a “digital native” is up for interpretation. Clearly, however, young people think differently about information: how to find it; how to assess it; how to share it; and how to create it. This poses challenges and opportunities for libraries to reach younger patrons in new and compelling ways.

21st Century Robots at the Library

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Community members of all ages learn programming with the assistance of Westport (Connecticut) Library’s winsome instructors, Nancy and Vincent. Nancy and Vincent are child-size robots designed by French company Alderban, and they’ve taken Westport’s commitment to integrating technology to a whole new level. Whether sharing soccer moves, doing tai chi, talking to patrons, or patiently accommodating the instructions of novice coders, Nancy and Vincent have charmed the community and sparked interest in computer programming.

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