Innovation

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.

Digital Badging in Libraries Transforms Learning

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One of the ways Libraries Transform is by innovating along larger societal trends or the shifting needs and interests of patrons. These trends and their impact on libraries are tracked by ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries. This is the first in a series of articles that will highlight some of those trends and how libraries have incorporated them into the services they provide to their communities. Digital badging takes an old concept (think Scouting badges) and re-configures it for the digital age. Badging provides a way to recognize formal and informal learning that happens across educational settings. Given the range of learning that libraries facilitate, it should come as no surprise that academic, school, and public libraries are experimenting and innovating with badging.

 

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