Check Out Human Experience at This Public Library

September 19, 2011

5:00 pm

Librarians love to interact with people. Think about it–patrons come to them asking questions about topics they’re researching for school, seeking help tracing their genealogy, locating resources for career advancement, and so much more. In a sense, librarians actually get to be Google. When it comes to finding information and learning about new subjects, libraries have always provided the necessary sources with the social interaction and human connection faithful library patrons have come to appreciate.   

In an effort both to re-humanize the information gathering process and to bring more patrons into the library, the City Centre Library in Surrey, British Columbia is introducing its Living Books program. This program aims to tap into the wealth of information that exists in the human mind and disseminate that information through social gatherings among program volunteers and library patrons. Volunteers will consist of local people, drawing their expertise from careers, academic concentrations, hobbies and life experiences. The volunteers agree to share their information, and library patrons can make appointments for 30-45 minute conversations.

The Living Books program sounds like a great way to gather information with the nuances of real, human experience mixed in. These days, there’s an app for just about everything, but I’ve yet to see an app that can deliver all of that!

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Meg Rayford is a communications consultant based in Northern Virginia. She previously spent two years as the Director of Public Relations for a nonprofit startup, where she learned a lot about providing clean water for impoverished countries, even within the confines of a bootstrapped startup.

She is the editor of Tech Cocktail, and she develops media strategies for companies in Washington, DC and Virginia. You can read her most recent work in the marketing chapter of the upcoming book, “Social Innovation and Impact in Nonprofit Leadership,” which will be published in Spring 2014 by Springer Publishing. Follow her @megkrayford.

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