Today I read Lee Rainie’s tweet (Director of Pew Internet Project) requesting examples of innovative library services and decided to send him a few highlights from this past year. To me, some of the more innovative library programs do not fall under bleeding edge tech or super cool gadgetry categories, but under smart uses of resources to meet community needs. This past year, many of the innovative programs I heard about were focused on extending the boundaries of the library through partnerships and through reimagining services the library offers.
With the help of my ever-talented colleague Brenda Hough, we put this list together in a few minutes flat. Do you have other ideas? Please add them to the comments!
A librarian in the home: Poudre River Public Library District (CO)
This program sends librarians outside the library to the far reaches of their rural service area. Librarians are vetted and trained for this very specialized program, and often teach patrons on technology in their own living rooms.
Incorporating library services outside of the library: High Plains Library District (CO)
This program grew out of a partnership bolstered by the federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and blossomed into a computer center housed in a community shelter. Providing services at the point of need, where safety and privacy are of utmost concern is increasingly the role of libraries.
Circulating public health nurses at the library: Pima County Public Library (AZ)
[From the library’s site:] Pima County Public Library has a public health nurse on staff. The role of the public health nurse is to help make the library a welcoming and safe place for all of our visitors. The public health nurse improves the physical and mental health of our customers through education, referral, crisis prevention, nursing intervention and disease management.
Community content creators at the library: Escondido Public Library (CA)
At Escondido Public Library (CA), librarians encourage community members to create their own digital content at the library. Called LibraryYOU, patrons create podcasts and videos showcasing their talents and knowledge, and these artifacts are made publicly available in the library’s collection. The library provides training on the technology and Donna Feddern, the librarian who dreamed up this project, blogs and presents about what she has learned (and what she is learning) in an effort to help others interested in creating such an endeavor at their own library. http://techsoupforlibraries.org/blog/sharing-local-knowledge-libraryyou
It’s more than books: unusual stuff to borrow: Ann Arbor District Library (MI)
Many libraries lend more than books, but Ann Arbor District Library does a great job of curating and communicating their interesting collection.