Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Tactical Urbanism for Libraries: Quick, Low-Cost Ways to Make Big Changes

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Tactical Urbanism for Libraries: Quick, Low-Cost Ways to Make Big Changes

Article excerpt

Tactical Urbanism for Libraries: Quick, Low-Cost Ways to Make Big Changes. By Karen Munro. Chicago, IL: ALA, 2017. 164 p. Paper $57.00 (978-0-8389-1558-5).

Making the most out of limited resources is a familiar situation to many librarians. How do libraries spark significant change within the constraints of tight budgets, limited staff time, and red tape from within the library system and without? Munro offers a solution in tactical urbanism--hands-on, short-term approaches to improve a city, neighborhood, or library with minimal budget and oversight. A popular concept in cities, it includes whimsical projects like yarn bombing and pop-up parks, as well as practical fixes to overlooked problems, such as building a footbridge over an obstructed walkway. Although long-term strategies are integral to developing cities or libraries, tactics can be used to address immediate needs or can mark the beginning of a large-scale initiative.

The author begins with an introduction to the concept of tactical urbanism, a glossary of urbanism concepts, and a discussion of how the approach is relevant to libraries. Like cities, libraries are often tasked with finding solutions to problems on the fly, without expertise or adequate funding. The book is filled with case studies of tactical urbanism projects, ranging from small, low-budget endeavors to massive city-wide initiatives. Chapter 2 describes several nonlibrary projects, each followed by a discussion of how the concept applies to libraries. Munro grounds the reader with a reality check before diving into library case studies. …

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