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AZ Tech Beat | April 23, 2017

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ASU and Scottsdale Libraries Will Launch “Eureka” Co-working Spaces

ASU and Scottsdale Libraries Will Launch “Eureka” Co-working Spaces
Adriane Goetz

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ASU Venture Catalyst and the Scottsdale Public Library system are launching a new initiative called the Alexandria Network to help inventors, problem-solvers, social enterprises, entrepreneurs and small businesses. The Alexandria Network is designed to provide support for the innovation economy within designated libraries, creating a network of locations across the greater Phoenix area, and eventually across the state of Arizona.

These new “EUREKA” spaces will combine elements of  co-working spaces with library fact-finding services and ASU startup resources into one designated place. Innovators and entrepreneurs can work from these spaces on a daily basis and have access to mentorship, advice, and ASU’s “pracademic classes” both online and in the libraries. These spaces also serve as places to connect and network with fellow independent, business-minded people.

According to Scottsdale Public Library Director Carol Damaso, “This is the role of the library in a new economic, social, and learning landscape. We are partnering on this innovative concept to provide a cooperative learning space and programming that combines the proven success of ASU entrepreneurship programs with the library as a known space for continuing education for all people.”

The pilot EUREKA location will be in the Scottsdale Public Library system, based in the Civic Center Library, and is set to open in early April.

  • This seems like a great idea, but the co-working spaces I’ve been in are a bit noisier and more chaotic than most library environments. And while having mentors is great, I question if there really are the resources (in terms of people and their commitment) for this in more than a couple of libraries across the state.

    And with respect to librarians, “Moreover, local library staff will act as ‘champions’ by offering advice and support to their community of innovators.” Oh wait, you’re serious…?

    All that said, making use of libraries in this fashion, and having access to a real business librarian with time, resources, or even interns to help, would be terrific and I’d love to see that at ASU itself, as well as at Scottsdale, Burton Barr, North Phoenix or North Scottsdale, Flagstaff, and Tucson.

    • Gordon

      We are working with the libraries on choosing the right parts of the library to do this. We are also going to be delivering our pracademic Rapid Startup School training modules there, in the closed meeting rooms the libraries already use for courses they currently run there. Including our Lean Launchpad material.

      We have also started training some library staff to operate these EUREKA spaces, and will be working with the economic development people in the Cities they are based in. It is about leveraging the assets we already have in ASU to have a wider impact other than just on an ASU campus or in SkySong. Local mentors and interns are also part of the plan.

      We should be announcing an additional three or four more locations in Arizona in April. Libraries in other cities as well as other universities outside the state have contacted us, so I hope for a network of network as universities set up there own hub and spoke systems in their geographic locations.

      • Co-working spaces are fantastic. And if you can bring in other business folks, founders, developers, lawyers, marketing specialists, all that is terrific and your program to be commended.

        I think 80% of your benefit will be providing A) a reasonable amount of table space and a place where phone calls (or Skype) can be made and B) providing a terrific business research librarian that can help with determining the numbers of customers, competitors, size of the market, etc.

        With emphasis on (B). That’s been some of my frustration in trying to start up a company in Arizona compared to when I would work out of the business library where I got my MBA. Even at ASU’s business library the librarian didn’t really have the time needed, or apparently the mission…

        But back at Berkeley, wow, the business librarians and their knowledge and insight and willingness to help were transforming.

        That and a table, some coffee, and a place to pee that coffee out…

        • Gordon

          Scottsdale library has a great coffee shop inside that also happens to be a social enterprise