Co-Working Librarians Work Outside the Box

I’ve been learning more about CoCo, a new co-working collaborative space with locations in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. I love the idea of shared workspaces, as I’ve said before. The potential for community interaction and the societal benefits that come from mixing it up with our neighbors really gets me revved up.

Now, watch this video and see if you had the same reactions I did: 1) I wish I could work there! and 2) Oh, yeah, that place is begging for a librarian!

Begging for a librarian, right? Each of those workers, hunched over his or her own computer, probably Googling away, usually successfully, but not always. Couldn’t a librarian help them do research? Couldn’t a librarian help design and run the space to suit the needs of the members? Couldn’t a librarian develop group programming to support the work of the members? Couldn’t a librarian develop an individualized collection of digital and physical tools and resources to help the members do their work? Couldn’t CoCo offer personal librarian services for free or for an extra fee?

I can’t imagine a more hip tantalizing place to do my work. Check out the membership structure and notice the student rate. If this place were in Syracuse, and I could afford the $50 a month, I’d be practically living there. It really can’t compare to the working environment I can find at any on-campus spot. If Syracuse University’s neighborhood did have someplace like this nearby, would that urge the university to step up and compete? I noticed on this co-working wiki that Syracuse does have a co-working space, but it doesn’t seem quite as sexy, somehow, as CoCo. I think it’s the squeaky-clean airy look and the promise of large shared spaces that makes the spaces in Minnesota seem more interesting.

Meg Knodl, a Library Journal 2011 Mover and Shaker, and the Senior Librarian, Communications and Community Engagement at Hennepin County Library in Minnesota worked with CoCo this summer to develop programming and information services. I love that Meg apparently approached them with the idea.

I’m headed to Minneapolis this May for a brief visit and I plan to visit CoCo, to see what it’s all about. In the meantime, I’m going to keep thinking and reading about how librarians can work in and create co-working spaces.

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