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!