Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Here’s an example of a traditional institution that is changing with the times.

Despite the fact that so many people seem to believe that libraries are a thing of the past, they are still around and they are evolving.

A recent article in The Atlantic highlighted how libraries are changing from being a space where knowledge is consumed to a place where things are created. Five years ago the Fayetteville Free Library in New York brought a 3D printer into the library. That was the start of the first modern makerspace. Today that space has evolved into a 2,500-square-foot Fab Lab and a Creation Lab for Teens.

Having these makerspaces in libraries enables everybody to become a creator; a skill in today’s world that is as highly prized as reading was in the early century.

Jeroen de Boer, co-author of the book Makerspaces in Libraries, calls these revamped libraries “DIY spaces”. They are places where people can exchange knowledge and ideas to create and innovate. Rather than obtaining knowledge (many of you may be too young to remember the time where we had to go to a library to find out about stuff), it’s about engaging with knowledge. That’s great.

This is exactly the type of response that needs to happen from institutions whose functions are no longer in sync with the times. The post-office is another example of an institution in need of a makeover, and many around the world have re-positioned themselves as service providers in the world of e-commerce. It may not be mail that they’re carrying, but they are still in the business of delivery.

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