Let's Remake Libraries as Hacker Spaces and Community Innovation Centers
07 Feb 2012
I was reading several stories yesterday about the State of California cutting funding for libraries across the state. These kind of budget cuts really make me worry for the future of our children and our communities.
I say it is time that we all come together and figure out a way to re-invent our libraries, and one possible way forward is to remake our local libraries as hacker space.
Here are a few ideas I had today about this:
- Dedicated Hacker Spaces - Each community could have a space to have hackathons that could be used for locally driven events as well as a place for out of town organizers to throw events.
- Hackathon Model - Libraries could adopt a hackathon model for throwing small or large events in any area, allowing kids and adults to organize and participate in hackathons in any topic area.
- Sponsorship - Bring in sponsors much like we do for hackathons, allowing tech and other companies to invest in single or ongoing hackathon efforts at libraries in the markets and subject areas that matter to them most.
- Revenue Opportunities - These sponsorship opportunities would allow libraries to create new ways to fund their operations based upon the corporate sponsors that reflect the type of space libraries want to create.
- Mentorship - Allow anyone to become a hacker mentor in any subject, allowing them to share expertise and knowledge with others in their community.
- Resources - Libraries could provide access to computers, Internet connectivity, data repositories, code repositories, APIs, software and other resources that are essential to hackers.
- Community Innovation - These new library hacker spaces could be centers for community innovation to occur, bringing in outside ideas, and circulating new ideas within existing community leaders.
- Incubation - Library hacker spaces could be centers of business incubation, providing a rich and fertile environment for ideas to take root and find the resources and talent they need to actually become businesses, creating desperately needed jobs in communities.
I’m not sure entirely of the reasons why libraries are not a funding priority in this country, at a time when we are more than happy to fund wars, prisons and other areas that do not enrich our communities. The whole thing just boggles my mind, and leaves me very concerned.
Times are changing, and I’m sure this has something to do with it--regardless ibraries need to find new ways to stay relevant in this digitial age within their communities, and the tech community needs to step in and help.
I think the hackathon model could provide a very positive way to remake our libraries into innovation centers within our communities, turning anyone into a potential hacker and mentor in the subject area they are most skilled and passionate about.
I’d love to hear other ideas, about how we can do this, and I’ll work them into my future stories as well as my hackathon schedule as I travel around the country.