|Vancouver (BC) Public Library|
Everyone has a place besides home and work that is a social place. It could be a coffee shop or some other physical place. In 2018, that social place is likely to be online and likely to be Facebook.
We want libraries to the place people see as their third place, but what stops them? What are the challenges?
- Size - Let's be honest, if everyone in a library's service area came to the library, they all would not fit in the building.
- Availability - Public library buildings es aren't available at all hours, which means that people can't use them whenever they want.
- Limited online presence - While libraries do have an online presence, it is not a presence that allows for a truly social space for library users. In other words, that library online space is not like Facebook.
- Not a social space - Some libraries are not built to house social activities or loud discussions. And some staff and library users are not tolerant of social activities in a library.
- Coolness - The library may not a cool hangout spot for everyone.
- Acceptance - While I might accept the library as my third place, do my friends?
- Immigrants and refugees
- Children and teens (who tend to be noisy)
- Those who lack stable housing
- People who aren't interested in "learning"
- People who prefer media that is not books
- Be more welcoming
- Create and facilitate space that accommodates and is safe for everyone - both physically and virtually.
- Training - This could include listening skills, dealing with difficult people, understanding social service resources, and more.
- Experimentation - Staff need to be willing and able to experiment on activities that will help the library become a third place.
- Long-term efforts - The third place efforts can't be short term, but rather the library and its staff need to continue these efforts for the long-term.