Colorado: Libraries Add Museums, Tool Rentals and Job Centers to Help Meet Community Needs and Stay Relevant
Creating an interactive in-house museum. Renting out saws, cake pans and vegetable seeds. Providing job centers to connect the unemployed to companies with jobs to fill.
These are some of the innovative, mission-expanding ways that libraries are staying relevant around the country and in Colorado, as the internet, smartphones and other technology have overwhelmed their traditional roles of lending books and doing research.
“Libraries right now, especially in the 21st century, are community spaces. We are not just book repositories anymore,’” said Lessa Kananiʻopua Pelayo-Lozada, adult services assistant manager for Palos Verdes Library District in southern California, and current president of the American Library Association. “We are vibrant centers that react to the needs of the community.”
One feature offered at her library is the chance for patrons to submit their artwork for a juried show that’s displayed on a library wall. This kind of innovation is something libraries have needed to do for decades, according to Jim Duncan, Executive Director of the Colorado Library Consortium.
“I think it’s important to note that the innovations that have been going on in libraries have been going on in Colorado for thirty years,” he said. Around the state, he noted a few examples that make his case.
“The Flagler library in [the] Eastern Plains, they check out cake pans. John C. Fremont Library in Florence, they offer a seed library where community members can come in and exchange their vegetable, flower and plant seeds,” he said. “At Denver Public library, people can even learn to make videos. Libraries are hubs for a lot more than reading books.”
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.