Coworking Librarian Archive

Serving up smarts

Serving up smarts

“Knowledgeable experts standing behind a bar, answering your questions for free. What a novel idea! We’ll call it Genius Bar. What’s that? The name is taken? Alright, Mr. Lawyer-pants, we’ll find a different name.”

And thus the Smart Bar was born.

Smart Bar is a little thing we’ll do once a week in Minneapolis, in which CoCo members will have access to free advice from experts within and outside the CoCo community. We’ll set up some stools at the welcome desk and you’ll be free to sidle up and drink all the knowledge you can.

The Smart Bar will be open on Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. If it does well, we’ll certainly consider doing it more often. You can’t have too much smarts, right?

Our coworking librarian Meg Knodl will be serving up smarts on Wed., Aug.17. Bring her any business or market research questions you might have!

Other smarties on the docket include:

Looking for a few good instigators!

Looking for a few good instigators!

Like to start fires? Enjoy provoking constructive chaos? Then you just might be an instigator.

As you probably know, CoCo draws all kinds of creative and resourceful folks from across different professions. But, save for a few outliers, we’re fairly well entrenched in the software, startup and marketing/advertising realms.

As our coworking librarian Meg Knodl has been helping us consider what it means to curate our culture, one of our realizations has been that we need to work actively to introduce “outside elements” – catalysts, flies in the ointments, irritants in the oyster, or to use one of my favorite words, instigators. The goal is to make sure that we are actively introducing new strains of thought that keep us all aware of new and different ways of looking at things.

So, we’re going to try a little experiment here. For the foreseeable future, we’re going to be inviting someone into the CoCo community as our “Instigator in Residence.” It’ll be someone who has a point of view, a line of work or a skill set that is not typical and whose presence promises to prompt some interesting conversations and insights.

Here are the rules of the game:

  • As an Instigator in Residence, you’ll have free access to both CoCo locations for three months.
  • We’ll ask you to observe the Woody Allen rule, which is to say that you’ll agree to being a regular presence at CoCo. But while you’re here, you’re certainly free to work on your own stuff.
  • We will actively introduce you to our members and generally talk you up.
  • We will ask you to staff the Smart Bar at least once during your stay.
  • You’ll agree to tell members about your line of work, your POV or whatever it is that makes you an instigator.
  • Finally, you’ll agree to post periodic updates to the CoCo blog about your experience.

So, what do you say?

If you think you’d make a good instigator, please drop us a line and tell us about yourself! We’re open minded and even open to trying some crazy stuff, so don’t be afraid to throw us a curve ball.

Photo by JohnGoode

Meet Meg, our new coworking librarian

Meet Meg, our new coworking librarian

Earlier this year marketing guru Seth Godin created a bit of a stir with his post about the future of libraries. This line in particular caught a lot of peoples’ attention:

The next library is a place, still. A place where people come together to do co-working and coordinate and invent projects worth working on together. Aided by a librarian who understands the Mesh, a librarian who can bring domain knowledge and people knowledge and access to information to bear.

Across town, Meg Knodl, a Senior Librarian in Communications and Community Engagement at Hennepin County Library, also noticed Godin’s post.

A quick aside: you may know Meg from UnSummit or Social Media Breakfast. What you may not know (and what Meg is too modest to tell you) is that she’s kind of a rockstar in the world of library science. In fact, as I write this, she’s heading to New Orleans to be recognized by the Library Journal as a 2011 Mover and Shaker.

Last month, Meg approached us with a brilliant idea: could she try to create a coworking librarian position at CoCo?

There was only one possible answer: “How soon can you start?”

So, please join us in welcoming Meg Knodl as the world’s first Coworking Librarian (as far as we know!). She will be helping us to develop a philosophy and approach toward programming, which is the professional word for all the social, cultural and educational events and activities that support our coworking community.

Meg will be coworking at both the St. Paul and Minneapolis locations on Wednesdays. (The other days of the week, she’ll still be at Hennepin County Library). If you have ideas about programs you’d like to participate in, attend or offer, please contact Meg at Of course, Meg will also available for research and resource questions.