Re-imagine public libraries—through exchanges with art museums

miami-beach-art-museum-library-exchange-inaugural-openingOur public libraries are more than just repositories of books and media. They are institutional anchors that make information and resources available to all, support children’s literacy and social development, and provide civic spaces where citizens can come together. Public libraries are so highly regarded that 95% of Americans 16 and older view them as important to their communities.

In Miami Beach, on display is an interesting twist on the ways libraries enrich our culture and civic life. There, people can view exhibitions from the Bass Museum of Art that are on loan to the Miami Beach Regional Library next door. Through that vibrant collaboration, members of the public can revel in the great works of music and art from around the world they would otherwise miss. The two institutions are, in effect, lending audiences to each other—ultimately broadening the pool of patrons for both while enhancing the public’s understanding and appreciation of different cultures.

Recognizing the potential magic of museum-library partnerships, the Knight Foundation is providing funding. It’s a great idea for other communities to consider as well. For more information, see “A library-museum exchange opens doors to art,” Knight Foundation.