Are We in a Library Renaissance?


New York Library via PSFK

The New York Times writes about the logic of libraries: It Has Computers, Gives Advice and Is Free. they note that library use is booming because of the economy and the growing numbers of unemployed people using it as a resource. This isn't a new phenomenon;

"We've been in the job-search business for decades," said Paul LeClerc, the president of the New York Public Library, noting that President Obama has said that a librarian helped him find his first job as a community organizer. "This is a continuation."


Boston Public Library

And it isn't just in New York; Mike wrote recently about the libraries in Massachusetts, in Library Use is Booming Because of Recession

Attendance is surging. Check-out rates are soaring. At some libraries, circulation - the number of items checked out in a given month - is up as much as 33 percent since last summer.

Dan Gould at PSFK notes:

It will be interesting to watch if all kinds of libraries continue to grow in popularity. Whether for the money saving free and cheap services, or for the benefits of using but not owning, it looks like we've only seen the beginning of the library Renaissance.

He is right. TreeHugger Warren has been promoting the concept of libraries for years in these pages, calling them the model Product Service System.

A library is a classic PSS. You have access to endless books, journals, magazines, even music CDs, without laying claim to any of them. In fact, when you no longer need them, they are available to others.

Collin puts it in simpler terms in What Makes a Good Product Service System?

Think of it this way: a PSS is often an answer to the question, "Hey, do you really need to own one of those?"

Libraries, like Product Service Systems, are the flip side of Living with Less, because we just don't have the money to buy more stuff or a place to put it. We are definitely in a Library Renaissance.

More on Product Service Systems:
TreeHugger Picks: Why Buy When You Can Rent?
TreeHugger Picks: Product Service Systems (Part II)
Eco-tip: Don't Buy It When You Can Neighborrow It

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