Minecraft and makerspaces are transforming the traditional library in one city

libraries-digital“It’s about to get loud,” a Twin Oaks Branch librarian warned patrons on a recent afternoon just before the start of Minecraft Club, where more than a dozen kids gathered to play the popular video game at the South Austin library.

When the children trickled in, they buzzed around the cluster of computers, cutting the stillness with the sounds of their giggles and excited chatter. For those patrons seeking silence, the librarian signaled to a quiet room nearby.

“Libraries aren’t that place where an old lady wearing a bun is telling you to ‘Shh!’ anymore,” says Mindy Reed, managing librarian and bookstore manager at Recycled Reads, a zero-waste retail store that is part of and directly benefits the Austin library system.

As more people switch to reading e-books and research information using their iPhones, what’s the future for the traditional library? It’s a question that has sparked national discussion in recent years as library professionals look at the changing role of libraries in the digital age.

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