The Public Library As An (Almost) Open Source Institution

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 from 1:30 – 2:15pm in B304


Your public library can be one of your best allies for creating, distributing, and promoting Open Source ideas and projects. They want to help - they just need to know how.


The public library should be easily convertible to the ideas and products of Open movements, in the interests of greater user privacy, lack of arbitrary restrictions, and the ability to share information, materials, and expertise freely among people. Unfortunately, current implementations of the public library idea are bound by proprietary software, concentration of resources in buildings, and a lack of communication between the public and the library. The library has resources, but not necessarily populations to use them, and populations don’t always think of the public library as a place to gather resources that can help them.

We’ll talk about successful projects and ideas that have come from the community that public libraries can adopt to extend their reach and be more relevant, or that the community can use on their own to create the idea of the public library in places where there aren’t buildings, things the library is offering that communities can take advantage of for their own projects, as well as ways for the community to communicate to libraries about their wants and needs in ways that public libraries can understand and act on.


public libraries, open source institutions, successful collaboration, advocacy, communication

Speaking experience

Smash Bash: Creating a Community around Smash Brothers Brawl - Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium 2008 (ALA Techsource) -