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Chattanooga Public Library

Abstract

The Chattanooga Public Library (CPL), as a middle-size public library, includes 108,500 square feet of conditioned space and is located in the heart of downtown Chattanooga, TN. In 2012, a new executive director started a strategic planning process aimed at transforming the library into a new and vibrant library that reflected a culture of change and innovation.

The City of Chattanooga has designed a Chattanooga Smart City plan with a focus on building an adaptive and efficient transportation system to increase mobility, improve safety, and better respond to sustainability challenges. The city has also made significant progress in making its community smarter as evidenced by its ongoing investments in at least three of the five dimensions of smartness: technology deployed, technology innovation, and community/stakeholder engagement.

The CPL is contributing to the development of a smart(er) Chattanooga mainly in three ways. First, developing smart citizens. The library provides a significant amount of cutting-edge technology access, digital skills training, and access to and training on how to use advanced technologies to support patrons’ businesses, entertainment, health, and overall quality of life. Second, enabling citizen participation. The library provides great opportunities and resources for citizen participation in community activities. Third, the CPL’s makerspace provides a great environment that allows patrons to get together and utilize the technologies and resources for creation, innovation and collaboration. In addition, the library strategically invests in collaborations with other community stakeholders that help the library stay involved and informed on community issues to include current and future smart technology investments.

For its future development and to better contribute to a smart Chattanooga, the CPL plans to collaborate with other community stakeholders to improve patrons’ digital literacy and soft skills. In the meantime, the CPL is also working on improving user engagement through different methods, such as upgrading network infrastructure, and designing more user-centric programs and services, among others.

If you are interested, please read the full case study about the Chattanooga Public Library and how it is helping develop a smart community.

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