Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Third Place

As we start this new year, I have been thinking about a recent visit I made to a library near where my daughter lives. This library is about 5 years old and is part of a complex that houses a performing arts center, city administrative offices, the police department, a fire station, and a sculpture garden. There is also enough parking for 750 vehicles. One of the most compelling ideas that this library represents is their commitment to the philosophy that the library is the “Third Place” (a concept that states a “Third Place” is where one would choose to spend the most time after home and work or school). In working towards being the “Third Place”, they have created a place that is much more than just a spot to pick up a good book, an interesting movie or check your email. Of course, you can do all of these things, but this library has created a destination where one can relax and read in front of a fire, attend a concert, watch a movie on a Sunday afternoon, meet an author or learn about all of the sea life in their saltwater aquarium. Themed spaces define each area of the library which are each fantastic areas to spend time. My favorite is the “Craftsman” area that holds of the magazines and newspapers. This entire community has strongly supported the library from the time when it was one little building in the middle of a cow pasture and they haven’t forgotten that beginning. In so many ways they live by a simple saying, “Honoring the Past; Imagining the Future.” Even with this community’s tremendous growth, they have managed to keep their focus, which was at times extremely difficult, on working together to ensure the library is a “Third Place” for the whole community.

No comments: