Friday, March 11, 2011

Libraries as TechShops?

This post from MAKE magazine editor Phillip Torrone just came across the LITA listserv. In it, Torrone presents the idea that libraries could serve communities by offering places for people use collaboratively use new technologies. We've touched on this idea of "library as TechShop" in our meetings, readings, and discussions - now here's a look at the idea from the tech community. How can we take these ideas and challenges - from the author and the 70+ comments - and apply them to our work for Minnesota's libraries in 2025? Should libraries in Minnesota seek to become TechShops? What would need to happen to make this idea work? What might be lost, if libraries were to pursue the concept?

One commenter noted that workshop spaces and quiet spaces for reflective study don't necessarily play well together. Is there a way for libraries to balance these ideas? Do you know any libraries that could serve as models? Or, should some libraries serve as TechShops while others focus on quiet reflection - and, if this is the case - what tools could be used to determine the best use of library funding?

And once we've figured out if a community should have a TechShop Library, how is it staffed? With MLS-carrying librarians? Or with folks from the IT world?

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