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Post Written By Sandie Glass, Owner of Innovation ROI

A Strategic Full Service Ideation & Research Company

Over the weekend, I stumbled across a TedxTalk that I am inspired to share with you.

The title was “What To Expect From Libraries in the 21st Century.” In an age of smartphones and internet access at our fingertips, I’m sure we have all wondered, at one time or another, why do we need brick-and-mortar public libraries? Public libraries provide creative inspiration for just about anything you can imagine. Often, innovators don’t capitalize on the vast information available.


What I personally overlooked was the bigger picture – the big global picture – that only 35 percent of the world’s population is connected to the Internet. So, in many communities, public libraries are the only place where any person, regardless of education or skill level, can have access to information and the Internet free of charge. And even more than that, it’s a place where any person can escape their world and go to faraway lands without setting foot on a plane. Creative inspiration and imagination go hand-in-hand, and what better place to foster this than at a library.

Going beyond internet access to search for jobs or shop for ideas, public libraries have become places to grab a cup of coffee, or take a class to learn something new like 3D printing or digital photography. And even more importantly, libraries have become early responders for disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, fires or floods, opening their doors and providing water, food and supplies to the local community.


As innovators and entrepreneurs, we know the importance of having access to knowledge and information on the internet, but the physical space of the library provides a place to create, think, dream, collaborate, and innovate. And as it becomes harder and harder to escape interruptions at our desk, this might just be the safe haven we need to get some serious thinking done.


And besides unlocking all the fabulous information contained inside, many libraries around the world are so beautiful architecturally, that you just may be inspired by their exterior too:) Here’s a list of the 10 most stunning libraries from around the world:
1. Kansas City Public Library – Kansas City, USA (shown above)
2. National Library of Belarus – Minsk, Belarus
3. Sendai Mediatheque – Sendai, Japan
4. Central Public Library – Vancouver, Canada
5. Vatican Library – Vatican City
6. Bishan Public Library – Singapore
7. Geisel Library – California, USA
8. Library of the Dutch Parliament – The Hague, Netherlands
9. Stuttgart City Library – Stuttgart, Germany
10. Central Library at National Autonomous University of Mexico – Mexico City, Mexico

It’s been some time since I’ve set foot in my local library, but I’m going to “test the waters” and see what creative inspiration I can find. I encourage you to try it too!


Innovation ROI is a leading up-front innovation consulting firm that has a combined 38 years of expertise collaborating with top corporate innovation teams to create incredible, actionable business—building ideas. You will get a Return On Insights through our Collision Point™ process, where INSIGHTS and IMAGINATION intersect to create powerful strategic ideas for success. Learn more about Innovation ROI at www.innovationroi.com.