MindShare, a Skillsharing Initiative

"[Rochester's Central Library] has connected with the founders of RocShare, a local organization which educates Rochester about its sharing economy and promotes local sharing organizations. They agree that this project furthers their efforts to establish a skillsharing network in Rochester, and that the library system is the right vehicle to deliver that access. The library has experience in developing a Human Library and can parlay that experience into developing MindShare. The concept of Human Libraries has been introduced to Rochester over the past 18 months, which has prepared Rochestarians for this next phase in skillsharing."

RocShare has teamed up with the Central Library to form a skillsharing initiative like Rochester has never seen! MindShare "leverages the power of the public library to connect people of diverse backgrounds in order to share their knowledge, ideas, skills, and stories."

MindShare takes this concept in a new direction by developing a curated collection of Human “Books” who are part of the Monroe County Library System online catalog, sharing their skills through meet-ups in libraries and other participating locations. By blending skillsharing and the human library, MindShare allows the public to experience the sharing economy through the trusted expertise of the public library and its librarians.

Imagine you are trying to be thrifty and want to learn how to preserve fresh produce. To access MindShare, you go to the online library catalog, type in "canning" and along with books and DVD options, a link comes up for a MindShare match, someone who has been canning for 25 years. The page includes a list of available meeting times and branch locations as well as a space to detail your question. The MindShare Librarian at your selected branch then reserves a place for your scheduled meet-up.

Or imagine that you have 20 years of experience running a home business and you are eager to share your knowledge with aspiring young entrepreneurs. You can go to the library's MindShare website to sign up as a “book” and choose a time for a 5-10 minute meeting with a MindShare Librarian. The Librarian assesses your communication skills, and if you are approved, they record your availability, assign you a dewy decimal number, and add you to the catalog! Soon you will be helping people in your community start businesses of their own.

MindShare is full of possibility. Expecting mothers can learn from experienced caretakers in a nonjudgmental atmosphere, and recent immigrants can have the opportunity to learn English while teaching their native language and culture. Teenagers can tutor one another on the subjects they have excelled in, from Macbeth, to Pokémon, to Math, to how to compose a rap song. MindShare is limited only by one's imagination and by the curators, who make sure that the information being shared is helpful and appropriate.

You can read more about this initiative here!