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David Lee King

Part of all Three Places



Have you familiar with the concept of Third Place? As far as I can tell, the concept came from the book, The Great Good Place, written by Ray Oldenburg. His concept is this: most people have about three places in their life that in some way define them – usually home, work/school, and one other place (ie., the Third Place). Third Place can be many things, including church,
a bar or coffee shop, etc.  

A Third Place can even be digital – here’s a cool article discussing MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) as a third place, and even mentions a paper (currently under review) written by Constance Steinkuehler called “The New Third Space: Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming in American Youth Culture.” Wow.

Ok, so there’s a very brief Third Place background. Obviously, the physical library space can act as a Third Place for patrons – and that’s all well and good. But did you know that libraries can also infiltrate other Third Places, and possibly even people’s First and Second Places? Think about it – home and work/school. If you tweak your thinking about libraries, websites, and virtual services just a little, you can then start thinking about how a library can offer library services in people’s homes, at their workplaces, and at their schools – in essence, being available in people’s First and Second Places.

One way to get in those places, short of a physical Outreach Services type of thing where we physically take books to people, is to focus on our digital services. What digital services do you have now? Do you offer services like virtual reference, IM reference, phone reference, useful and usable web content, RSS feeds, etc? All those digital services get our digital foot in the digital doors of First and Second Places.

Just a braindump/thought process of going where your patrons already are – at their first, second and third places… libraries can be there, too!

Library 2.0

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/510806 Bill Drew

    Be careful with this analogy because a”foot in the door” could be seen as being intrusive. I dislike the analogy of the third place myself while agreeing with your ideas on library services.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/510806 Bill Drew

    Be careful with this analogy because a”foot in the door” could be seen as being intrusive. I dislike the analogy of the third place myself while agreeing with your ideas on library services.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1582781 bck

    I think it’s interesting to think about libraries as third places, but also as part of the “public sphere”. People worry about technology making the physical location obsolete, but I think it’s still going to have a role… at least for the next few decades??

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1582781 bck

    I think it’s interesting to think about libraries as third places, but also as part of the “public sphere”. People worry about technology making the physical location obsolete, but I think it’s still going to have a role… at least for the next few decades??

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