Borrow these 3 awesome ideas for library initiatives

We work with thousands of libraries around the world to help them innovate the way they deliver newspapers and magazines to their patrons. Naturally, we’re also interested in the way they’re innovating other parts of their service offering. This week we’ve uncovered three stories about creative library initiatives that might inspire new ideas for your library, too.

1. Offer a coworking space for local startups, freelancers and entrepreneurs.

Fast Company profiled several libraries that offer workspaces for mobile workers. In many cases these libraries specifically dedicate space to startups, providing space for them to work and meet, and often helping connect them with mentors and funding as well. Examples included D.C.’s Digital Commons at the Washington Public Library, and the Eureka Loft in Scottsdale, Arizona. These entrepreneur-focused coworking spaces are perfect examples of libraries helping community members get a leg up on a new business or project.

Ideas to try:
– Consider establishing a coworking space that can be booked by local businesses and entrepreneurs
– Ask local tech-industry organizations and incubators to co-host informational sessions or produce materials for your patrons
– Consider launching a section on your website or an email newsletter dedicated to this need, and share a curated selection of tools and resources already available in your library that may be useful to startups and entrepreneurs
– Offer patrons unlimited PressReader access via a HotSpot in your library, and invite them to read and download from a selection of over 3,000 newspapers and magazines

2. Collaborate with local artists and innovators.

The intersection between technology, information and art provides an exciting opportunity to innovate and collaborate. A wonderful example of this is the recently launched partnership between the New York Public Library and Electric Objects. Together they’ve introduced the Net Artist in Residence program, which invites artists to produce creative work using both Electric Objects’ digital self-contained picture frame and the New York Public Library’s extensive collection of historical maps and geographical data.

Ideas to try:
– Put out a call inviting local artists and tech-industry innovators to pitch ideas on new programs and initiatives you can launch in your library
– Identify collections and resources do you have that could easily be leveraged or improved upon by such collaborations

3. Get out and connect with your community.
In Portland, Oregon, a nonprofit called Street Books is delivering books via bicycle to low-income and homeless people in their community. Founder Laura Molton is passionate about literature and wanted to provide the service to locals who may feel marginalized and disconnected. The return policy is far more casual than most people are used to – rather than using due dates and late fees, Street Books just asks that you return the book if and when patrons next see them, once they’re done reading.

Ideas to try:
– Set up a mobile library kiosk – whether it’s a bicycle cart, a stand or a van – in a busy local place
– Launch a PressReader HotSpot on your mobile kiosk, park it at a busy downtown transit station, and invite people to stop and download their morning newspaper onto their smartphone or tablet before they get on the bus or train

We’ve shared some of our ideas, but we want to hear yours! Have you considered offering a dedicated space and programming for local startups and entrepreneurs? Are there any artists or technical innovators you’re working with? Are you reaching out to your community in an original, non-traditional way? Tell us what innovative programs you’ve launched, and your library could be featured on our blog as part of our Where’s PressReader? feature. Connect with us on Twitter or LinkedIn, or get in touch if you’d like to learn more about how you can use PressReader in your library (or on the go!).