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Why Libraries Should Be the Next Great Start-Up Incubators

“Co-working spaces are often treated today as a novelty, as a thoroughly modern solution to the changing needs of a workforce now more loyal to their laptops than any long-term employers. But the idea is actually as old as the public library. One of the world’s first and most famous libraries, in Alexandria, Egypt, was frequently home some 2,000 years ago to the self-starters and self-employed of that era. “When you look back in history, they had philosophers and mathematicians and all sorts of folks who would get together and solve the problems of their time,” says Tracy Lea, the venture manager with Arizona State University’s economic development and community engagement arm. “We kind of look at it as the first template for the university. They had lecture halls, gathering spaces. They had co-working spaces.” This old idea of the public library as co-working space now offers a modern answer – one among many – for how these aging institutions could become more relevant two millennia after the original Alexandria library burned to the ground. Would-be entrepreneurs everywhere are looking for business know-how and physical space to incubate their start-ups. Libraries meanwhile may be associated today with an outmoded product in paper books. But they also happen to have just about everything a 21st century innovator could need: Internet access, work space, reference materials, professional guidance.”

via The Atlantic Cities

One Response to “Why Libraries Should Be the Next Great Start-Up Incubators”

  1. Cheryl Niemeier
    February 19, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Launch.fishers in Indiana is just the kind of library use you describe. It is located in the lower level of the beautiful Fishers Public Library, and is intended to be “a co-working space for entrepreneurs working on startup, high-growth and high-potential enterprises”. I hope this idea takes root and we begin to see more innovative (well really recycled) uses of our many excellent public library facilities in the United States!

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