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

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. READ MORE
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. READ MORE
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