Community Labs in Public Libraries

Given their historic role of curating information, libraries have the potential to be key players in combating misinformation, political bias, and other threats to democracy. This research project seeks to support public libraries in their efforts to address misinformation by developing library-based community labs: spaces where patrons can collectively explore pressing social issues. Community labs have become popular across many European countries, where they are used to instigate democratic debate, provide discussion spaces and programming, alleviate community tensions, and promote citizenship and mutual understanding. This project aims to adapt a community lab model for use by public libraries in Washington.