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These 2 Men Are On A Mission To Visit Every Public Library In Massachusetts14:24
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The Boston Public Library as seen in June 2015. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The Boston Public Library as seen in June 2015. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Adam Zand and Greg Peverill-Conti are on a mission to visit, rate and rank every public library in the state. The project is called "Library Land."

As of Friday, the they had visited 196 libraries.

Guests

Adam Zand and Greg Peverill-Conti, co-founders of Sharp Orange and the Library Land project. They can be found on Instagram @librarylandproject.

Interview Highlights

On the origins of their quest to visit every single library in the state:
Well, it started out  actually out of necessity and location. Greg lives in Natick, I live in Arlington. When we were forming our [public relations] agency Sharp Orange, we looked at the map and said, 'Hey let's not meet at each other's houses, let's meet in the middle.' Which turned out to be Newton Free Library. ... It's a fabulous library, we were able to get a study room that day and we were super productive in those two hours. ... When we were walking out we said, 'Hey we should do this again, maybe not here, but let's try some other libraries.

On seeing new parts of Massachusetts through their journey:
It can be a great way to see Massachusetts. We've gone to towns that we've sort of heard of the name, and sometimes we haven't even heard of them. You learn a lot about the communities by what kind of library they have, and what kind of community events they have ... They're a great way to see the state, they're a great way to see any community that you're not necessarily a part of.

On the different kinds of people that frequent local libraries:
Libraries are reflections of their communities, and so you'll see people from that community. The thing that people often think, is that when you go to a library you're going to see [three] groups of people: children and caregivers in the mornings, and senior citizens in the afternoon, and then students coming home from school ... That holds true often, but we've also seen libraries that attract lots of different audiences. Charleston, here in Boston, that branch, they're one of the few, that their primary audience is millennials who are coming to work and to study. But you do see a huge diversity of people across libraries and in libraries.

On the concept "library of things":
'Library of things' basically means you can check out items beyond the DVDs, books, traditional. So we've seen everything from beautiful telescopes, very high-end telescopes, to ... a carpet cleaning set up in Millis. The other day we were out in Oxford and they have a fiddle you can check out ... I play the fiddle and I asked to see it, and it was out of tune, so I helped try to tune it.

The best library in their rankings?
We went to the library in Webster, and Webster is not a wealthy community. It was an industrial town. We went to their library, and it got a perfect score ... It is the only perfect score.

On what criteria makes a great library, Adam Zand and Greg Peverill-Conti say they have 11. These are just some of the things they look out for:

  • Parking, access to transportation
  • Wifi
  • Friendliness when they walk in
  • Architectural elements
  • Natural light
  • Accessible bathrooms

Maddie Mortell helped adapt this story for the web.

This segment aired on July 12, 2019.

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