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The role of libraries in NEO's economic development
Submitted by Ed Morrison on Fri, 04/01/2005 - 11:22.
Yesterday, I traveled to Orrrville, OH to meet with a group of librarians from Wayne County. The question we explored: What s the role of libraries in the future of Northeast Ohio's economy.
During the industrial era, our economy generated enormous wealth. One of the legacy assets of this period is our extraordinary library system. (For example, Orville's library ranks sixth in the nation for a community its size.)
Now, we need to adjust the mission of our libraries to meet the needs of building a high performance innovation economy in Northeast Ohio. In this frame, libraries play some critical roles. At least three come to mind. First, they provide the civic spaces we need to build new habits of civic engagement. These habits are critical for our future competitiveness. Regions that know how to collaborate will learn faster. They will spot opportunities faster. And they will act faster.
Second, libraries provide important support for a critical economic development goal for our region: Every child should be able to read and comprehend well by the third grade.
Finally, libraries can operate as important nodes in a business development network. They provide businesses and entrepreneurs with quick, on-line access to business information. Further, in cooperation with our colleges and universities, they can provide important support networks.
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