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Cool Libraries

August 30, 2011

I was recently asked to imagine the possibilities for the library I work for if money weren’t an issue.  Of course, money IS an issue, and will always be an issue, even in the best of economies.  However, if I didn’t dream of a better life when I was living in a bit of a slum (I was never really that bad off, but I did fight off cockroaches), then, arguably, I might not have taken the steps I did to improve my situation.

So I’d like to dream.  Academic and public, where are the cool libraries?  What are they doing that we can learn from?

1. Cool libraries are gamer friendly.

Check out this list of ten gamer-friendly libraries, from Onlinecollegecourses.com.  These libraries not only collect video games, but they also host related events.  I’m pretty big on the library as a “second place,” so I’m in favor of lively events.

2.  Cool libraries have a place to eat, drink coffee, and hang out.

I think this is a good dream for both public and academic libraries to have.  I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me at the reference desk if we have a snack machine (there is no eating in the library).  This is an especially good idea for an academic library.  Check out the Bracken Library Cafe:

Library Cafe

Ball State Library's Cafebrary's Cafe:

 

 

“You’re cramming for an exam or writing a research paper in Bracken Library and your stomach starts grumbling. You dig in your bag for a snack but come up empty. Don’t fret—the Bookmark Café is a great place for a cram session pick-me-up or a whole meal.”

(http://cms.bsu.edu/CampusLife/Dining/Locations/BookmarkCafe.aspx)

 

 

 

 

3.  Cool Libraries have cool furniture!

Learning Commons at Loyola

Learning Commons at Loyola

 

 

This is kind of a broad statement, because I am talking about cool functional furniture for children’s libraries as well as patrons-friendly reference tables that invite patrons, or students, to be involved in the research process.

Check out this Flickr set of Kansas Libraries’ cool furniture here

Or, for academic libraries, some of my favorite spaces have been learning commons… such as that at Loyola in Chicago, here

 

What else? I want to here from you.  Whether it is cool programming or cool spaces, share your cool library finds!

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