Librarian of Congress visits MIT

Staff met with Carla Hayden to discuss the Public Library Innovation Exchange


(L-R) Libraries Director Chris Bourg, Library of Congress Chief of Staff Elizabeth Morrison, MIT Media Lab Learning Initiative Coordinator Katherine McConachie, Libraries Application Developer/Analyst Helen Bailey, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, Libraries Assoc. Director Heather Yager, Colleen Hayden, Library of Congress Chief of Communications Roswell Encinas

Staff from the MIT Libraries and the MIT Media Lab were honored to welcome Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress, to the MIT campus on Thursday, October 5. Hayden learned about the work of the Public Library Innovation Exchange (PLIX), a project coordinated by a team from the Media Lab Learning Initiative and MIT Libraries.

The Media Lab Learning Initiative shared the following announcement about PLIX Thursday:

The Public Library Innovation Exchange is a Knight Foundation-funded grant project to build collaborations between Media Lab researchers and public libraries across the U.S. The project has three components:

  • Residency exchanges, where we will match a public library with a Media Lab researcher to work on a project together. Each partner on the team will travel to the other partner’s institution for a brief residency, to allow in-depth work, co-design, and development.
  • A public website, where we will host resources to help libraries implement projects created at the Media Lab. This will include how-to guides and kits targeted specifically to public library implementations.
  • A series of online events and virtual hangouts for librarians and Media Lab researchers, to demo tools and provide a forum for conversation and idea generation. The goal here is to build a community of collaborators across the library and Media Lab worlds.
Librarian of Congress visit

The MIT Libraries’ Helen Bailey discusses PLIX

Why pair the Media Lab and libraries?
Here at the Media Lab, we are huge fans of public libraries. They provide far more than books to their visitors, serving as community hubs for social change and innovation. From makerspaces to recording studios to early literacy programs, libraries are working hard to create open, collaborative, community-oriented environments where learning can flourish. If this sounds familiar, it’s because this is also precisely the kind of learning environment the Media Lab aims to be and design for. Researchers here at the Media Lab are creating solutions to challenges that require community input, including preventing tick-borne disease, increasing data literacy, and engaging kids with code.

Read more in ML Learning’s story on Medium