Archive for the ‘library as space’ Category

“Library as space” is important in a different way than “library as collection” and is a key interest of mine. Libraries are community hubs. In many places, the public library is the only non-commercial indoor public space the community has. Community centres often consist solely of athletic facilities – which are important, but not all the community needs in terms of communal space. Because libraries are public community spaces that exist in most city neighborhoods and rural communities, they are sometimes used to deliver social service programs and cultural initiatives. In Toronto, for example, the central reference library houses a Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration Newcomer Information Desk and all the branches circulate a museum and arts pass funded by a private company and distributed through the infrastructure of the public library. Yesterday, NPR’s All Things Considered did a story about the latest iteration of this phenomena in Baltimore – public libraries in “food desert” neighbourhoods are the delivery method of the Virtual Supermarket Project.

“Under a new city program, patrons can order groceries online and pay with cash, credit or food stamps. The orders are filled by Santoni’s supermarket, a longtime Baltimore grocer. They deliver the items to the library the next day.”

It’s an interesting initiative and one that begs the question – without the infrastructure of public libraries, how would you deliver a program like this? Through the post office?


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