What if libraries were more like coworking spaces? - Technical.ly Philly


Oct. 1, 2014 12:44 pm

What if libraries were more like coworking spaces?

Plus other Philadelphia entries to this year's library-themed Knight News Challenge.

Philadelphia's Central Library.

(Photo by Flickr user Erez Yoeli, used under a Creative Commons license)

“‘Membership’ to a library should be less about access to resources, and more about a sense of belonging, or a desire to make the library better for ALL of it’s members. But how do you invite that kind of participation?”

That’s the driving idea behind a Knight News Challenge proposal from a team from coworking space Indy Hall and web dev firm P’unk Ave. What can a library learn from a coworking space?

Indy Hall’s Alex Hillman and Adam Teterus, along with P’unk Ave head (and Indy Hall cofounder) Geoff DiMasi, want to train library staff how to invite collaboration from their members.

See their application

The Knight News Challenge, which is funding projects that aim to “leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities,” closed its application window yesterday. You can offer feedback to the entries here and winners will be announced on Jan. 30, 2015.

Here are the other Philadelphia applications we found among the more than 300 entries. Send us ones we missed, please.

  • AskInstitutions: “A website that provides a way for the community to ask academic questions directly to researchers in libraries and schools across the country.”
  • The Speedy Startup: “We can make Philadelphia’s Free Library system a powerful youth business incubator through implementation of the 12-week Speedy Startup model.”
  • Wayfinding: Building futures and improving communities through a strategic partnership to develop Apps & Maps for Teens in the Free Library of Philadelphia: “How might we build futures for at-risk youth and improve our communities by transforming teens from consumers to creators of digital content through a strategic partnership to developing Apps and Maps in Libraries?”
  • The Library of Services: “We will link citizens to the services they need from a familiar and accessible location by installing service-dedicated computers in libraries, training volunteers to act as digital guides, and using video-conference/screen-sharing platforms to bring case workers from anywhere to libraries everywhere.”
  • Library Book Club: “Amplifying and engaging African American authors and readers in discussions that will be recorded and downloaded onto an app for distribution as mobile content.”
  • Community Library Flash Media Labs: “WHYY will partner with the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Maker Ed initiative to provide instruction to high school and middle school students in video and audio production and documentary film-making in library branches throughout Philadelphia.”
  • A Walk Down Memory Lane: “Connecting a Philadelphia Neighborhood, Past and Present: Art Sanctuary & libraries will connect to Philly’s past using multi-media, walking tours, games for children & curriculum guides for classes.”
  • Libraries as Hip-Hop Techspace: “The idea is to utilize library space to teach youth various technological tools that are employed in hip-hop culture.”
  • New Americans’ Corner at Your Neighborhood Library: “New American Corners at local libraries help immigrants successfully integrate into their communities through culturally appropriate tools, programs, and resources.”
  • Library as Community Soapbox: Independent Publishing Center and Satellite Reading Rooms: “Full-cycle publications: affordable and free programming in writing and handmade publications will empower the community to tell their stories, which can then be read in small community-based spaces around the city.”


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