Innovate

America's libraries are well-positioned to play a large role in helping communities adapt to a changing world. They continue to transform themselves, keeping pace with the changing economic, social, and technological aspects of American society. Libraries’ deepening engagement with their communities takes many forms, from technology to education to social services, and serves many segments of the population.

Makerspaces

In recent years, libraries of all types have begun to create space and activities that center around creativity. From rewiring a lamp, to 3D printers, to sewing circles, libraries are capitalizing on a priceless commodity: the sharing of personal knowledge, or learning by doing.

"Makerspaces are a reflection of the times. Here we have people coming together as a community to fix things, creatively and cheaply, and to continue to maintain and create, including those who lack individual purchasing power. This is true library form: accepting and helping everyone, together, as a community."

-Caitlin A. Bagley, What is a Makerspace? Creativity in the Library, ALA Techsource, December 20, 2012

Gaming

Games are drawing attention in libraries as successful outreach tools for tweens, teens and seniors. They are also gaining ground in schools as valuable resources that introduce and reinforce a variety of curricular, social and life skills.
 

The inclusion of gaming in a library collection is not unexpected if you take some perspective. Libraries hit a turning point when they made the decision to start including popular media in their collections. By doing so, they shifted their collection development practices to be more inclusive of what their patrons want, embracing the desires of the community. They also opened the door to more non-traditional resources. And by continuing to develop a more inclusionary collection development policy, libraries are laying the foundation for building a collection of ideas.

— Brian Mayer, Library Gamer

Frequently Asked Questions About Gaming in Libraries

Articles About Innovation in Libraries

While closely linked to the millennial generation, the “fast casual” concept, in fact, has much broader reach: easily accessible and fresh ingredients are two of its hallmarks that have wide appeal; opportunities for social connection around eating further boost its popularity. Librarians have developed innovative ways to bring the fast casual experience into the library space. Partnerships are central to the success of those efforts and, not surprisingly, libraries offer a variety of fast casual models to meet their community’s needs. READ MORE
Images of drones flying above us conjure a variety of conflicting emotions: a sense of wonder and possibility and, yet, concern about potential consequences—particularly in relation to their use in warfare and surveillance. With the Federal Aviation Authority’s release of new regulations for drones in late summer, one thing is certain: use of this emerging technology will become more widespread. As with many other modern-day tools, libraries are prepared to help patrons understand how drones work, how they can be utilized constructively, and how to navigate the complex implications of their widespread use. READ MORE
Unplugging, then, suggests stepping away from the usual routine, purposefully establishing a quieter zone for undistracted action, interaction, or inaction. Libraries are important sources of access to technology and this will not change. At the same time, libraries are, at their core, about connection. Sometimes, to make those connections, people need to unplug—and libraries have found innovative ways to help patrons achieve that. Learn more about how libraries are innovating in response to societal trends on the Libraries Transform website. Visit ALA's Center for the Future of Libraries for an indepth view into the impact of societal trends on libraries. READ MORE