Libraries of the future

As long time friends, partners and supporters of locality I glad to see they’re doing some interesting work around testing their ideas on the library of the future.

Locality is supporting a fantastic international project to bring free literature and resources to people in Kibera, Kenya, via an online network. Costs prevent many in Kenya from accessing books and higher education, so this project to create a free ‘virtual library’ has the potential to make a huge impact. There is more information on the locality website.

Closer to home, I think Darren Taylor, CEO of EcoGroup in South East London are doing sterling work in the four libraries they now operate on behalf of Lewisham and other councils. The secrets to their success, it seems to me are:

  • There is a unmet need that’s well understood and defined – I would go so far as to say it’s self-evident, although the consultant in me always likes to see proof
  • Darren doesn’t lead in the traditional sense of making grand statements and forcing people along. Rather he let’s his actions speak for themselves and he includes and invites people to come on a shared journey
  • From a money making perspective the libraries are marginal on their own. Darren understands this and uses them as community hubs for a range of complementary businesses to operate from

There seems to me to be a real opportunity to move beyond the testing and piloting stage of using libraries as hubs. Should we not be systematising and replicating on a substantial scale? Surely this would give relevant information, community and enterprise services to local communities?

Agreement or disagreement welcome!

Published: December 4, 2014. Categories: News and Robert's Blog.

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