Insights Blog

Future of Libraries: 2016 in Review and 2017 Preview

Posted by Amy Garmer on December 22, 2016 at 8:59 AM

The Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries launched a series of initiatives in 2016 that are creating new opportunities and resources for transforming public libraries. As the year comes to a close, we are grateful to all those library and community champions who have worked with us over the...

Read more


Smart Libraries: Community Development Through Innovation and Partnerships

Posted by Chip Weston on September 12, 2016 at 9:20 AM

Technologies that have been maturing over the last decades are no longer on the horizon but on our doorsteps. They are being deployed by the thousands and portend substantial changes in just about every aspect of our lives. Massive amounts of data are generated and self-learning, self-improving artificial intelligence is...


Need to Get Wallet-Wise? A Librarian Knows How to Help

Posted by Carol Kando-Pineda on June 01, 2016 at 11:18 AM

Book lovers have always flocked to their local library to pick up a favorite classic or the latest bestseller. But today’s patrons also want and need a whole lot more. Libraries are a community’s most trusted source for all kinds of information, guidance, and connection. Through their partnerships, librarians reach well...


All Hail Our Library Robot Overlords

Posted by Tom Bruno on May 05, 2016 at 11:14 AM

In October 2014 The Westport Library introduced robots Nancy and Vincent to our MakerSpace, generating a great deal of interest not only in library circles but in the international media as well. The two diminutive humanoid Nao Robots, made by the French company Aldebaran Robotics and purchased at a cost...


Where the Edge and the Center Meet — Driving Innovation in New York City’s Public Libraries

Posted by Julie Sandorf on April 12, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Over a century ago, Andrew Carnegie endowed the City of New York with an extraordinary and everlasting gift—the construction of 100 neighborhood public libraries across all five of the City’s boroughs. There are now 207 branches, serving over 40.5 million visitors annually—more people than all the City’s cultural institutions and...


Kansas City Library/Community Partnerships Support Equality

Posted by Gloria Jackson-Leathers on March 15, 2016 at 10:41 AM

Communities thrive when people have opportunity. Sadly, opportunity is not equally available, but partnerships between libraries and other community partners are helping to level the playing field. The Kansas City Public Library (KCPL), a case in point, is working with community partners to bridge the “digital divide” — a civil...


Libraries are Bridging the Digital Divide in Cities

Posted by Clarence Anthony on February 17, 2016 at 11:40 AM

Digital literacy is no longer a choice; access to high-speed Internet is essential for Americans to do everything from finding a job to applying for college to gaining health care coverage. Yet according to a recent analysis by Pew Research, 5 million households with school-aged children still do not have...


The Library as the Central Institution of the Knowledge Economy

Posted by Dr. Norman Jacknis on January 21, 2016 at 8:25 AM

Americans live in an economy in which an increasing number of us make a living based on the knowledge we have and we offer to others. One estimate, almost ten years ago, noted that only 40 percent of jobs had no significant knowledge tasks. With increased automation of those jobs, the percentage...


Aligning Library Services in Support of Community Goals

Posted by Susan Hildreth on January 12, 2016 at 9:57 AM

I believe that the future relevance and success of the public library is dependent upon the library’s deep knowledge and commitment to community growth and success.  Although many libraries have had stated commitments to community priorities, I do not think that we have been disciplined or strategic in effectively deploying...