Just published: A. de Moor and R. van den Assem (2013), Public Libraries as Social Innovation Catalysts. In Proc. of the 10th Prato CIRN Conference “Nexus, Confluence, and Difference: Community Archives meets Community Informatics”, Prato, Italy, Oct 28-30 2013.
Public libraries urgently need to reinvent their role in society. Through social innovation, libraries may adopt new functions and roles and even act as innovation catalysts in networks of increasingly interdependent stakeholders from different sectors. We investigate how to design such inter-sectoral public library innovations that are embedded in existing organizational practice and are both sustainable and scalable. We outline a practical social innovation sensemaking method based on a combination of a social innovation collaboration network model and process model. We show how we did an initial validation of the method using the results of two exploratory workshops with professionals in the Dutch public library world. We discuss the implications of this approach for expanding the role of public libraries from providing access to collections to becoming social innovation and community catalysts.