Here at WNYLRC, we consider ourselves an incubator of library ideas. One of our members or staff have an idea for a project, and we get it started– with the successful ones often taking on a life of their own, eventually being managed by our members or other organizations.
I just learned about another organization in the area, that could be considered an incubator in the business world. You may remember earlier this spring we partnered with the local chapter of Girl Develop It to offer a web design class (with more classes in this partnership to follow). Following the lead of my colleague Janelle Toner, who spearheaded the partnership, I joined the organization myself, as I’m interested in brushing up on my technical skills. One of their monthly events is “Code & Coffee,” an informal get together where people can ask questions of each other and get help with current projects. I attended this past Monday’s Code & Coffee, held at Dig.
Dig (http://digbuffalo.org/) describes itself as a co-working space. All chairs, desks and tables have wheels on them, so the space can be structured however you want. Separate areas are created by the yellow bungee cords you see in the picture, allowing the room to be divided but still open. (And of course, there is wifi throughout!) Libraries looking to be more conducive to patron collaboration could get some great ideas here.
One of the main goals of Dig, we were told, is to allow entrepreneurs, small businesses, or people who work-from-home a place to work. It’s great for holding meetings or collaborating with other industries. Dig also has a team of “Mechanics” (http://digbuffalo.org/dig-co-work-mechanics/)who are experts in various fields, willing to share their expertise with entrepreneurs or workers who need help. Our tour guide explained that the ultimate success of the space is when a business grows enough that they no longer need Dig because they have their own office or building. Sounds like an incubator to me!
I’m not suggesting that our members all run out and join Dig. It’s not free, for one thing: http://digbuffalo.org/options/. But this could be a great source of ideas if your library is looking to rearrange its space. (It reminds me of when our Regional Advisory Committee visited Mohawk College and was impressed with their Collaboratory: http://wnylrcwatch.org/newsletter/?p=3394.) Tours are available, so you might want to consider a visit.
And of course, it’s another great local resource to be aware of. You never know when you may be helping a patron who needs information on starting a business or launching their great idea. A recommendation to check out Dig may be just what they need.