Getting to 3rd base. I mean space.

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Have you heard of the Third Space concept? It says that people need a third place to be themselves in. We have our houses and we have our work-or-school, but we all need someplace else to relax in. Might not rate on the Most Profound Thoughts Ever scale, but it’s a lovely idea. Read more about it, if you’re interested.

Maybe I’m a little biased, but I think libraries make excellent Third Spaces. You can check your email, you can read the newspapers, you can skim the mags, you can check out a book, you can look at all those Not Suitable For Work links from fark that you couldn’t view in the office. In very progressive, awesome, Jessica-friendly libraries, you can even get a cup of coffee. If the Wilhelmsplatz library opened a coffee store, they’d recoup their costs from my pocket alone.

The problem is getting people to realize they can come to the library. Select members of the population are hip to the library’s charms, namely bored retirees, young moms, and the homeless.  But if you’re under age 50, you don’t have an ankle-biter, and you do have a place to live, chances are it hasn’t occured to you to come chill at the ‘brary.

Hear me well, fellow librarianators. We need to get the word out. We need to reach people where they are.

Example:

  • Every teen in the US of A has a myspace page.
  • Libraries can’t beg, intimidate, or coerce any self-respecting teenager to hang at the library.

What do we do? Think real hard here… c’mon, I know you can do it… almost there, almost there… that’s right…

Yes! That’s it! The library should get a myspace page!

It ain’t rocket science, folks. It’s library science.

People– and I don’t just mean teens, I mean Boomers, I mean Xers, I mean most of the friggin population– are blogging, are reading RSS feeds, are shooting the breeze on myspace, are killing time on flickr. Are paying four ever-lovin’ dollars for a cup of Starbucks. 

So if your library doesn’t have a blog, or an RSS feed, or a myspace page, or any of that trendy 2.0 stuff, then no wonder the people aren’t beating down the door. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Now we come to the most serious implication of The Library As A Third Space, namely, where the hell am I supposed to hang out?

In my pre-library days I used to spend all my down time at the liberry. I studied in the stacks, I browsed the shelves, I flirted with the circ staff. Then I became a librarian. My third space was destroyed.

Either I need to find a new place to hang out– the very thought terrifies me– or I need a new career. Anyone know where an out-of-practice tuba player can get a gig?

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