Innovate

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.

Makerspaces

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

Gaming

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 Internet of Things, or IoT, has caused an explosion in the number of everyday devices that are able to collect and transmit data. Librarians recognize the balancing act required to implement IoT technologies in accordance with core principles of librarianship. Where IoT can improve access to materials or services, or provide learning opportunities, without compromising patron privacy, libraries are joining hands with their communities and diving in. Librarians are also leading the way on educating patrons about what IoT entails—its inner workings, uses, limits, and implications for our communities and society. READ MORE
The growth of cities and resurgence of downtowns presents opportunities and challenges to libraries. While sticking to their core principles of equity and access, urban libraries embrace those opportunities, integrating facilities, programs and services into the pulse of city life, while working within constraints of budgets and space. Across the country, libraries in cities of all sizes serve the critical functions of urban living rooms and civic anchors. READ MORE
From local practices to national policies, there is growing acknowledgement that becoming an adult is a process, not just a date on a calendar. This concept is rooted in research that identifies a unique stage of physiological and social development between the ages of 18 and 25, known as Emerging Adulthood.1 It also reflects the challenges of a post-recession reality in which young adults often delay leaving their parents’ homes and health insurance policies.Libraries have responded to the concept of Emerging Adulthood in two major ways. First is the growth of educational programming that builds individual capacity, commonly referred to as “adulting.” A necessary step towards growing up is learning how to survive independently and, with a plethora of resources and deep connections to the community, libraries are well positioned to support that step. READ MORE