The Library as a Social Network

I recently checked out All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin from the library. Portland has a great network of libraries, and their web site allows you to place a hold on any book in their catalog and have it transferred to your closest library location. When you place a book on hold and go to the library to pick it up, there’s a little slip of paper with your name on it.

While I was reading All Marketers are Liars, I came across the hold slip from a previous reader (see above). So I thought, “this Arlie person and I could probably have a great conversation about the ideas in this book.” But there was no contact information for Arlie.

Wouldn’t it be great if the library had a social networking site that allowed me to see who else has read the same books I’ve read? It’s kind of like an inverse book club… not a group of people who pick some book to read, but a group created by an interest in the same book, people that can easily get together to talk because they live in the same geographic location. The idea of creating a “shared ideas” community is the genesis of these coffee mornings around the world. If groups of like-minded people could be brought together through places like the library, why not take advantage of that as a perk to using the library?

Granted, this is based on people who have read the book through the library. Some people like to buy books instead of borrow them. So the library aspect adds another component to the mix… people who are saving money by not buying books, or are environmentally conscious because they don’t want to chop down more trees and add more paper to the world… there are plenty of other socio-economic reasons people utilize their local library. Me? It’s easy, free, and I don’t feel ripped off if I get a book I don’t enjoy. I just return it.

Arlie, if you come across this post, email me and we can talk about the book.

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