KM, Communities and the "Little Free Library"

I came across this post via the Knowledge Flow (thank you Susan Frost!), and was struck by the idea, and its parallels in the world of networks and communities of practice.

It's the "Little Free Library".


Little Free Library is a creative idea, thought up by Todd Bol and Rick Brooks, that aims to promote literacy and bring communities together by putting up mini libraries in neighborhoods around the world. Started in 2009, it's a nonprofit that seeks to place these small, accessible book exchange boxes right in front of a house or on a street corner. (Take a book, return a book.)  What makes the idea so special?

Their website states: "Little Free Libraries have a unique, personal touch and there is an understanding that real people are sharing their favorite books with their community. These aren't just any old books, this is a carefully curated collection and the Library itself is a piece of neighborhood art!

It's great to see the principles and practices  of reciprocity, trust, curation, individuality, creativity, altruism, generosity, adaptation and growth all working together, building a sense of community.

What if you were to ask each member of your community of practice to curate a small library of their favourite resources, links, documents, sources and experts - to make that visible (virtually) and then to borrow connections from each other?

If you get the same result as Todd Bol and Rick Brooks, then it's just what a successful community thrives on:

“It’s started a neighborhood exchange. It gets people talking and more comfortable with their neighbors,” he said. “This leads to them helping each other.”

That sounds like  a pretty effective knowledge management tool to me.



I got tagged by Nimmy to play along with a "blog meme" which discloses a bit about my use and sources of media, so here goes... (I'll post something a little less self-indulgent shortly!)

Print - BooksI’m one of those people who is good at starting books, but less good at finishing them. (and even worse at knuckling down and writing them!) As a result, I enjoy books that I can dip into more than those which need to be read sequentially. You can browse my bookshelves at I’m enjoying “Watching the English” at the moment, in which anthropologist Kate Fox explores and exposes the unsaid nuances which make the “English” so difficult to understand! Freakonomics was fun too. I’ll dip into Ed Schein, Bill Jensen and John Kotter, and them get my bearings with Rob Parson’s “The heart of Success – how to make in it business without losing it in life”. Out of the work themes, I enjoy John Ortberg, Rick Warren and Philip Yancey’s perspectives on real-world Christianity. Give me some free time by a pool or on a beach, and a Grisham novel will keep me entertained. Oh, and you’ll find Jeremy Clarkson in the bathroom!

Print – Magazines/JournalsKM Review and Inside Knowledge, HBR (Borrowing Geoff’s copy!) and occasionally Fast Company.

Print - NewspapersGuardian and Independent, but new more generally through Google News – so I can and do end up reading anything from Al Jazeera to the New York Times to keep a broader perspective. The Web - Google as a starting point. Wikipedia for a more focused result, the blogosphere for a playground mix of current opinions, gems and rants, aided by Technorati. Flickr for some fantastic images for presentations, for more creative ones, YouTube for video, needless to say and Linked-in for renewing contacts.

Communication – A chat over a coffee always wins! Then email (but I haven’t succumbed to a crackberry) and Skype (occasionally from my wife downstairs!), Mobile and txt.

Audio - Radio – Radio 4 and is a great source of things I didn’t know I didn’t know, and is often my companion in the car. Melvyn Bragg is particulary mind expanding. However, after an hour or two I hop back to Virgin Radio to pretend I’m still young.

Audio & Video - Films/Movies – Favourites would be the happy ending genre of Shawshank redemption, Apollo 13, A Time to kill, but Saturday evenings I’m out-voted and end up with the likes of Nanny McPhee, Narnia High School Musical and any of the Disney-Pixar/Aardman animations.

Audio & Video - Music – Pretty mainstream really - Keane, Kooks, Coldplay, The Feeling, Mika, Seal, Corrine Bailey Rae, Jack Johnson, Beautiful South, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Susan Ashton… Like the rest of the world, I'm an Ipod owner (although it doubles up as a nifty voice recorder), and use a Slimplayer to stream it around the house.

Audio & Video - TV – I always seem to end up watching the usual family-oriented X-factor-on-ice-academy with the children… Later in the evening I’ll stop what I’m doing to watch Spooks, Dragons' Den, Grand Designs (apparently I look vaguely like Kevin McCloud - a bit generous hair-wise, I think!), Catherine Tate, anything with Ricky Gervais…

OK, my turn to tag: Denham Gray, David Gurteen (second time lucky?), Caroline De Brún, Alex Manchester and Bernie DeKoven (Dr Fun)