America's libraries are well-positioned to play a large role in helping communities adapt to a changing world. They continue to transform themselves, keeping pace with the changing economic, social, and technological aspects of American society. Libraries’ deepening engagement with their communities takes many forms, from technology to education to social services, and serves many segments of the population.


In recent years, libraries of all types have begun to create space and activities that center around creativity. From rewiring a lamp, to 3D printers, to sewing circles, libraries are capitalizing on a priceless commodity: the sharing of personal knowledge, or learning by doing.

"Makerspaces are a reflection of the times. Here we have people coming together as a community to fix things, creatively and cheaply, and to continue to maintain and create, including those who lack individual purchasing power. This is true library form: accepting and helping everyone, together, as a community."

-Caitlin A. Bagley, What is a Makerspace? Creativity in the Library, ALA Techsource, December 20, 2012


Games are drawing attention in libraries as successful outreach tools for tweens, teens and seniors. They are also gaining ground in schools as valuable resources that introduce and reinforce a variety of curricular, social and life skills.

The inclusion of gaming in a library collection is not unexpected if you take some perspective. Libraries hit a turning point when they made the decision to start including popular media in their collections. By doing so, they shifted their collection development practices to be more inclusive of what their patrons want, embracing the desires of the community. They also opened the door to more non-traditional resources. And by continuing to develop a more inclusionary collection development policy, libraries are laying the foundation for building a collection of ideas.

— Brian Mayer, Library Gamer

Frequently Asked Questions About Gaming in Libraries

Articles About Innovation in Libraries

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. READ MORE
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. READ MORE
Fandom provides opportunities to explore, celebrate and gather around a particular creative work, team or trend. It is often associated with science fiction and fantasy but fandom can encompass anything that generates a devoted base of followers. As repositories of literature, movies, sound recordings and realia, libraries have found a number of ways to align fandom with programming and services that advance their commitments to literacy, inquiry and community. READ MORE