Keynote: Hacking Library Spaces: Lessons From Tactical Urbanism

Mike Lydon, Principal, The Street Plans Collaborative and & Author, Tactical Urbanism

@MikeLydon @StreetPlans

Street Plans based in Miami and Brooklyn: methodology to hack the city. Do a lot of bike and pedestrian planning. Urban design. Policy development. Education and training. Placemaking.

Share Knowledge + Advocate for Better Cities — firm publishes and shares work online

His work was inspired by open streets… Seeing challenge in people not being willing to go to public meetings. Became involved in advocacy for biking, and involved in open streets: streets used for walking, biking, dancing, etc., and Bike Miami Days — changed how he thought about sharing ideas, inspiring people, advocating.

At same time, NYC was hacking its streets: Temporary “Pilot” Plazas — temporary paint, movable planters, different public spaces, projects in the streets. Giving streets back to people to hang out, eat, etc. “As inexpensive hacks, tactical interventions producing great affects, we here at FASLANYC greatly admire them, esp because they are no longer….” –Brian Davis

Cities becoming more participatory — leading to longterm change in policy and physical changes. Tactical Urbainsim and Tactical Urbanism2 — — Blew up — was shared widely by thousands.

Method for sharing — putting ideas online — brought this idea to a global stage. Downloaded around the world in many countries.

Tactical urbanism become a global movement owned by no one, that can involve anyone, and that is intended to improve the lives of everyone.

Tactical Urbanism: city, org and/or citizen-led approach to neighborhood building using short term, low-cost, and scalable interventions intended to catalyze long-term change.

Yarn bombing: DIY? Yes. Hacking? Maybe. Tactical? No.

It’s not just…hipsters. It’s for neighborhoods. Getting all generations to come out and make change together. Newsboards, Little Free Libraries, creating places that are communal in our neighborhoods.

Tactics & Tacticians–Movement from Unsanctioned to Sanctioned. People just going out and doing things without permission.

Three Overlapping Trends: The Great Recession & Shifting Demographics & The Internet as a Tool for Building the Civic Economy

The Great Inversion and the future of the American City

Growing Frustration: Roadblocks at Every Turn, as people are moving back into the city. Amenities not there that people like. Laws, ordinances, and rules that are blocking things from happening. Guerilla

City vs Citizens and the Widening Gap Between What we Have and What We Want — Guerrilla crosswalk painter. Tension between citizens and city leaders.

Guerrilla stripers add bike lanes…

But this isn’t a new idea. Boxes on the river in Paris, pop up in the morning and become stands. Help activate the river. Took 500 years for this to be sanctioned.

Food trucks vs real restaurants. Play streets concept. Portable Parks in 1970 in San Francisco. Zoo animals at a temporary park on an off ramp by a freeway.

Strategy without Tactics: Midtown Plan (1969). Transform Broadway street… But nothing ever happened with the plan. Until 2009: Times Square closed to traffic, just for the weekend. Set up lawn chairs (for $10 from hardware stores). People sat down and started using the chairs. 2010: Times Square put paint on ground, tables and chairs, and measure the impact. Economy exploded and became a much safer street.

Times Square Lights Up City’s Economy, Study Finds

Pedestrian traffic increased; sales increased. Safer streets.

Now, Times Square reinventing itself permanently:

Mayor Bloomberg Cuts Ribbon on First Phase of Permanent Times Square Reconstruction

Idea: Build, (project) Measure (data), Learn (ideas) cycle; try something, learn from failures and build on it. Ideas come from Lean Startup

We need strategy and tactics: …it is about getting it right for now and at the same time being tactical and strategic about later….and about disturbing the order of things in the interests of change. –Nabeel Hamdi, author of about the art of practice and the limits of planning in cities.


1. Citizens unsanctioned citizen action

DIY crosswalk; “Dear crosswalk vigilante — thank you! made my day”

Guerrilla crosswalk turns into total overhaul of New Haven intersection — this guy showed leadership in his community and was elected to city council!

Walk [Your city] — few people were walking in a walkable neighborhood. Signs to make people walk in the community. City council had him take the signs down and then voted to make them

Good projects go to scale and spread.

2. Municipality/Organization: Public Involvement Through Collaborative Demonstration

Students: Pop-up Rockwell — two way bike path. Learned that bike traffic increased. People went to different businesses, we’re going to just try this, pilot, got buy-in and permission. Failure was also involved — most valuable. Some of the intersection design wasn’t as strong as it should be. Realized the flaws in 1 week, and integrated those findings into the permanent infrastructure.

Coalition: Park-Making in Miami, FL — parking lot overtaken with temporary materials and changed it into a park, with a coalition of groups. Became a very active space for a week. Changed the conversation for

3. Municipality/Developer: Phase 0 Implementation

Project in Brooklyn, near Manhattan Bridge: retail sales up 172% vs 18% across Brooklyn. Food truck pod; and outdoor plaza in a parking lot. Project will be made permanent, and will be expanding. Political will and support built using temporary first.

City + BID + Artists — murals to replace ugly paint.

Hired by cities AND agitators :)


1. Working from the Outside In: Hamilton, Ontario

2. Enhancing Public Involvement – Somerville, MA

  • Too much surface parking; neighborhood needed to grow, but not up
  • Davis Square Streetscape Plan (2012)
  • People didn’t want change; showed up at the meeting in protest
  • Go test the Streetscape Plan into the planning process using tactical urbanism
  • Somerville Design presents 3-day pop-up plaza and make a parking lot into a plaza.
  • Very active space — street performers, musicians.
  • Comment box
  • Space active long into the night. People sitting on the asphalt just hanging out.
  • Brought a lot of people to the table for the planning process.
  • “Make this plaza permanent”
  • People were shown the possibilities
  • City is moving to test out a food truck, tables and chairs and incrementally bring space change about.

3. “Phase 0” Implementation — Penrith, Australia

  • underutilized section of asphalt — street
  • transform the space into a park — not much traffic on that street
  • laid out the process for this to happen; convinced city council to go along with this.
  • City committed $40,000 to try the park idea out and then if successful, would make it permanent
  • workshopped ideas; people into 3 teams with 10,000 to spend; 10,000 left to integrate the 3 teams together
  • Sketched to scale where things would go.
  • Kit of parks — materials to be used — and prices figured out.
  • Space sketched out
  • City excited — and within a month of the workshop, the space was transformed. Fence opened up. Much more welcoming environment.
  • Collaboration across government; an iterative process…
  • Businesses started to put out pots and plants.

This all reminds me of these projects:

What does this have to do with libraries?

  • Search “Library” in Google Images — stereotypes of what people think of libraries. But it’s not what libraries are about. People aren’t understanding the role libraries can place in communities as third places.
  • Salt Lake City Public Library — programming in retail spaces…
  • Open up library spaces
  • Streets and public services
  • “I think of the city not as opposite to the Internet, but as absolutely like it. In a sense, it is the original Internet, the original hyperlink since cities are places in which random connections, rather than linear order, often determines what will happen.” –Paul Goldberger, 2001
  • He’s become aware of projects because of web tools and the Internet
  • “If the city is the original internet, then the library is its server”
  • Tactical information delivery

5 Ideas for Libraries

  1. Embed Tactical Urbanism into information delivery process
  2. pilot test public engagement ideas/tools
  3. focus on placemaking, improve the interface between library, city, and citizen
  4. use existing initiatives + Find Multipliers
  5. Scale Down to Scale Up — start small, make impact, then project further.

Building High-Performing Teams

A Community Grows — Cornell University Library

Jennifer Colt, User Experience Designer, Cornell University Library
Melissa Wallace, Web Designer, Cornell University Library
Mary Beth Martini-Lyons, Co-ordinator of Web Design, Cornell University Library

Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what make a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. -Vince Lombardi

Very little crossover between IT & libraries. Very linear processes…..

Old patterns don’t need to determine future behavior….

Robert Johnson, Manager of Information and Technology Services, Emma S. Clark Memorial Library and Suffolk County Library Association

Personal communication missing. No feedback… Perspective, too.

Reality check. Taking deep breath. Stopping and determining priorities.

Team building

  • you are allowed to be wrong
  • you are allowed to be right
  • You should stand up and lead. If you can’t find a leader — it may be you.

Team builders…

  • Recognize the skill set and talents of themselves and their colleagues. Bring in folks from other depts
  • Display confidence and take responsibility for their decisions (right or wrong)
  • Build an external network of people
  • Are ready to take the idea or leadership somewhere else

Ellen Druda, Digital Coordinator, Internet Services, Half Hollow Hills Community Library

Lots of differences between IT staff and librarians (stereotyped, maybe, but there is some truth). We need to work together.

A novel idea! \ IT staff work info desk \ learning on both sides.  #cildc via @dblduchess –@darnlibrarian

Library Data Mashups

Samantha Becker, Research Project Manager, University of Washington Information School
Michael Crandall, Senior Lecturer, Information School, University of Washington Information School
Rebecca Blakewood, Research Analyst, University of Washington Information School

First steps.

  • decide what you want to know
  • find out what data is available
  • figure out where you can get the data from

What data to mash?

National data

  • IMLS Public Library Survey
  • Edge INitiative
  • Impact Survey/American Community Survey
  • Census

Local/Regional data

  • Community indicators
  • City/county/data
  • Community anchor institutions or agencies
  • Hospitals & School districts good resources, too
  • Local media outlets — may not share actual dataset, but might share results

Your own library data

  • Library use stats
  • Circ stats, including collection use – other usage
  • Patron surveys

Combining datasets

Conceptual Mash: guide decision making; give roughly right idea of the community; reveal areas for further research; raise qs to validate thru community needs assessment.

National vs Texas vs New Braunfels conceptual data mashup comparison: married/couple family; never married; eleme school (grades 1-5); Hispanic; Of non-English households speak Spanish at home)

Pew Library Typology Report — “Distant Admirers” 3/14/14

Largest share of HIspanics (27%) of any group; less likely to have broadband access at home; more likely to feel overloaded w too much info; less likely to feel finding info is “easy”; 43% say their children have visited the library in past year vs. 70%; 78% know where the library is at.

New Braunfels conceptual mash:

  • Large Hispanic population suggests likelihood of greater population of “Distant Admirers”
  • Higher percentage of married households with young children, plus Pew observation they are more likely to highly value libraries, suggests outreach strategy to Hispanic families with young children.

An actual mash: Edge & PLS

Are there differences in Edge scores that are attributable to library characteristics?

  • Very small (under 5,000 LSA)
  • Small (5,001-15,000 LSA)
  • Medium single location (15,001-65,000 LSA)
  • Medium multiple locations (15,001-65,000 LSA)
  • Medium-large (65,001-175,000 LSA)
  • Large (175,001-300,00 LSA)
  • Extra Large (> 300,000 LSA)

Scores fairly regularly increases as you go from very small to extra large libraries: what does that mean?

The difference isn’t really a true difference. While larger libraries are scoring higher on average, smaller libraries are still managing to get high scores. But there is variability in the scores of the smallest libraries, suggesting something else is going on.

Range in scores 200 –> 800 points range for the very small libraries.

So what is going on?

  • The variances is “real” (ANOVA p=.001)
  • But only between extra-large and other peer groups
  • Could it something to do with community characteristics?

A more complex actual mash: Multilevel modeling

  • State: influences on library support — politics; economy
  • Community: influences on library use: income; education
  • Library: resources and services: per capita funding; square feet

Does these factors lead to +/- Edge Score?

Data analysis and visualization tools

  • Pros and cons — tools vary in:
  • handling large data files
  • Using your own data
  • Attractiveness
  • Technical ability required
  • Smartness
  • Storage Costs

Excel: Pivot tables — good ole pivot tables can help you prepare your data to be visualized using Excel charts or web tools. Dragging variables around in different ways, so you see data in different ways. Need to look into this methodology more! tool

Datawrapper — create widgets from your data to use on your website

Jolicharts — another tool; more simple data sets

Statwing — more complicated datasets

Explore public data resources

Impact Survey Reports

Explore library data app developed — lots of cross tabulation possibilities

Solving Common Issues With Innovative Collaboration

Collaboration & Conversation: Working with Publishers in Canada (eBound)
Michael Ciccone, Director, Collections, Hamilton Public Library
Christina de Castell, Director, Resources & Technology, Vancouver Public Library
Tricia McCraney, Consultant & Project Manager, Tricia McCraney Consulting

Lots of conversations from 2011 -2013 between libraries and publishers around eContent.

Publishers from the larger Canadian independent publishers, eBound, and the libraries. They began presenting at each others conferences — Association of Canadian publishers, ex. Saw they all had common ground. Canadian Urban Libraries rep on Booknet. Regular collaboration with publishers now on a regular basis.

Hot topics: Readers’ Advisory, MARC vs. ONIX, pricing, buying, and promoting Canadian books and authors. Conversations around licensing, access, what had been working in previous years of library digital content purchases.

Publishers weren’t aware of how much libraries were providing readers’ advisory and book promotion services. Distributors became in-between w libraries & publishers — no longer as close of a relationship.

eBook usage and increase of content has increased greatly from 2011-2013.

eBook revenue very little for the most part.

Reasonable terms: MOU

  • one copy per user
  • 40 circ cap
  • bundles of content
  • transferable
  • negotiate archival separately

eBook lending pilot


  • Canadian publishers were concerned with discoverability — that was their number one concern
  • Also, build more direct relationship with libraries (diminishing role of vendor in terms of selection and marketing of titles).
  • Make titles discoverable — and visible.
  • Greater control over pricing and terms; for publishers, ebook vendors are controlling the pricing and terms. A few key players were dominating things. Canadian publishers wanted to work more directly with libraries.
  • Seamless patron experience.
  • New technology solution — RFP to launch this — new platform


  • Cost
  • competitive market
  • lots of established vendors
  • need to integrate w existing vendors
  • high rate of innovation and flux in the market

Project Timeline

  • RFI in June 2012
  • RFP in March 2013
  • VEndor selection in June 2013
  • Negotiations through November 2013

Negotiations were very difficult. End with the successful and now unsucessful vendor. Rather than going to the next vendor from the RFP, they ended the RFP process and explored other alternatives, instead. They wanted to focus on Canadian content…

There was a lot of disappointment, but decided to change course. That meant the need to partner with existing vendor to offer a limited time sale, collections of Canadian eBooks, May-June 2014, identify what libraries have and what they need.

What they learned, they were working in a competitive environment, and waited too long. RFI set back significantly. Negotiate with 2 vendors at once.

Publishers + Libraries — enjoyed working together

  • Learned a lot talking to each other
  • Learned they had a lot in common
  • Growing respect and admiration

Lessons learned

  • Simplify the process
  • Trust your gut(s) –> including following the red flags
  • it’s okay to admit that it’s just not working
  • Future collaboration opportunities (including with existing vendors)
  • ReadersFirst Project

Local Music Project from Iowa City Public Library


Iowa City Public Library’s Local Music Project

Jason Paulios, Senior Librarian, Adult Services, and Brent Palmer, Coordinator, Information Technology, Iowa City Public Library


Iowa City works with local musicians to license their music and distribute the music to Iowa City PL card holders for 2 years. Packaged deals (missed the pricing). 140 albums from over 100 artists.

UNESCO City of Literature. College town. Local music scene.

Director saw lots of local musicians, wondered why lots of music was being bought outside the area, but local musicians weren’t getting known. Started asking local musicians if they wanted the libraries

Partnerships that support community and build community. Local bar scene and local artists and local musicians partnerships.

Innovative PatronAPI connector

Complicated upload, MARC, metadata, audio files, admin app, etc.

Admin app

  • built in-house
  • FLAC files are ripped and stored on a local server; album is cataloged
  • App pulls MARC fields and populates admin web form (creates bib record)

Web form, tracks, titles, web-editing form. Cover image pulled in as well.

App stores this metadata in XML for web display and adds metadata to song preview clips and ZIPs and App generates song previews.

Ideas & Lessons — fast turnaround on the project

  • Lifetime distribution contract option vs 2-year contract option — musicians not really interested in contracts.
  • Mobile User Solutions — streaming player; mobile apps — iOS struggles with ZIP. Android a bit better, but still not intuitive for average user. Also, no renewal or checkout again. Circ doesn’t match up on usage. Streaming could help on this (but would require rewrite of contract again)
  • Promotion — staff resources not there yet. Bar coasters may be a simple way to promote the service
  • Collaborations: commissioning unique works; selection committee — recording studio partnerships.
  • Other Local Music Projects: sharing code & best practices

What will your project look like?

  • What can others do? Lots of libraries looking into this.

Libraries & the Big Picture: Facts, Trends, & Next!

Kathryn Zickuhr, Research Associate, Internet Project, Pew Research Center
Marydee Ojala, Editor-in-Chief, Online Searcher magazine
Stephen Abram, Principal, Lighthouse Consulting Inc., Dysart & Jones Associates

Slides from Kathryn’s presentation

Pew Research Center: New data from the Pew Research Center on public library engagement

Pew’s Library Project

Twitter: @kzickhur @pewinternet @pewresearch

Pew Research

Pew Internet Project

About our libraries research: State of reading; library services; typology

Typology –> Report Link

Based on: public library use; experiences at libraries; views/perceptions of libraries

Broader context: info & tech habits; other community activities (lots of correlations made)


  • High: library lovers; information omnivores
  • Medium: Solid Center; Print Traditionalists
  • Low: Not for Me; Young & Restless; Rooted & Roadblocked
  • None: Distant Admirers; Off the Grid

High & Medium Engagement Levels

  1. Library Lovers: Frequent library use; high levels of appreciation/familiarity; includes many parents, students, and job seekers; tend to be younger with high level of education (10% of population)
  2. Information Omnivores: high levels of library use, but visits are less frequent than Library Lovers’; highest rates of technology use; highest levels of education, employment, household income — high rates of tech ownership — lots of comfort with lots of different types of information (20% of population)
  3. Solid Center: Medium engagement; about half have used a public library in the past year; most view libraries positively; similar to general US population (30% of population)
  4. Print Traditionalists: Similar to solid center, except tend to live farther away from libraries (61% in rural areas); highest proportion of rural, white Southern (9% of population)

Low Engagement groups

  1. Not for Me: strikingly less positive views of public libraries’ roles in the community; more likely to have had negative experiences in libraries (4% of population); not a group that doesn’t need libraries — they don’t find libraries relevant to them or their communities
  2. Young & Restless: Relatively young group: Median age is 33; few have lived in their neighborhoods for very long; only 15% know where the nearest public library is located [not representative to younger generations, though]. (7% of population)They don’t have libraries on their radar…
  3. Rooted & Roadblocked: Generally views public libraries positively, but many face hurdles in their lives; tend to be older; many are living with disability or have experienced a recent illness in their family (7% of population); have technological difficulties or finding information

No Engagement (14%)

  1. Distant Admirers: No personal library use; Many (40%) say other family members use libraries; Most view libraries quite positively; many also say that library services are important to them and their families; tend to be older; often live in lower-income households (10% of population)
  2. Off the Grid: No personal library use; little exposure ot libraries overall; may be less engaged with community activities and social life; many live in rural areas; just 56% use the internet; low household incomes & low levels of education (only one in ten has graduated from college (4% of the population)

Library engagement typology

  • relationships to libraries are part of American’s broader resource networks
  • library use vs importance; wealthier people are more likely to USE libraries. People with lower household incomes/education RELY on libraries.
  • Groups may surprise you

Coming soon: Library engagement quiz: what kind of library user are you?

National data isn’t substitute for local level data. Important to also understand your local community.

What do Americans want from libraries?

  • More activities, more separate spaces…and print books, quiet
  • Convenience & tech (apps & e-books, kiosks)…and closer relationships with librarians; personalized service. Personalized connections with librarians.

IFLA Trends Report (shared at tables in session) — Marydee Ojala

Riding the Waves or Caught in the Tide — September 2013

  1. New technologies will both expand and limit who has access to information — the world’s information at your fingertips, but what can you do with it? info lit; mobile access; info providers’ business models; copyright
  2. Online education will democratise and disrupt global learning. MOOCs; non-formal learning pathways (what does this mean for self education); open access; network effects. If online education is free, then how much is it really worth?
  3. The boundaries of privacy and data protection will be redefined. Global borderless Internet; profiling of individuals and groups; govt pressure & intervention; levels of trust (including of public institutions); permanent digital footprint. Who’s profiting from your personal information?
  4. Hyper-connected societies will listen to and empower new voices and groups. Traditional political parties weakened; status of women; empower diaspora, migrant communities; simulated virtual environments; evidence-based policy-making. Are you ready for cyber politics? [#ksleg hashtag over the last 7 days…… ]
  5. The global information environment will be transformed by new technologies. When you your phone, your car and your wristwatch know where you are at all times, who runs your life? Mobile devices; artificial intelligence; 3D printing; global info economy; Internet of Things.

Implications? For libraries? for info providers? for you personally?

Continue discussion at IFLA trends site

More happened in this session… but I had to leave.