CHICAGO — Tactical urbanism, a global grassroots movement to improve cities by and for the people who live in them, has applications that are tailor made for libraries. Tactics like “start small,” “value intangibles,” and “bundle pragmatics with delight” can help libraries engage with their users while also solving immediate problems. Best of all, these projects can be lightweight, inexpensive, and quick to realize. In her new book “Tactical Urbanism for Librarians: Quick, Low-Cost Ways to Make Big Changes,” published by ALA Editions, Karen Munro offers plentiful examples from cities and libraries that show where tactical urbanism is happening now and making a difference. A quick-start guide that inspires and empowers libraries to launch their own tactical library projects, this book addresses such topics as:
- useful urbanism concepts such as placemaking, pink zones, design thinking, and optical leverage;
- 12 steps to becoming a tactical library interventionist;
- 4 tactical urbanism case studies, such as the Astoria Scum River Bridge, Park(ing) Day, and Self-Gentrification, with discussion of why they matter to libraries;
- 5 library case studies, including Library Box, Boston Street Labs Storefront Library, and a “Dewey-Less” Library System, that demonstrate how libraries can apply tactical urbanism concepts;
- how cities and libraries can overlap initiatives, spotlighting real-world examples; and
- ways that library leaders can cultivate a tactics-friendly organization.
Munro is Head of the University of Oregon Portland Library and Learning Commons. Previously she was E-Learning Librarian at the University of California, Berkeley and Literature Librarian at the University of Oregon. She publishes and presents often on topics related to library design and outreach to users, particularly those in the fields of architecture and design.
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