When you think about schools with cutting-edge, prestigious academic programs, which higher education institutions come to mind? Yale? Columbia? Harvard? These Ivy League universities, renowned for recruiting world-class faculty, rigorous coursework and highly selective admissions processes, churn out some of the world’s most innovative leaders throughout multiple industries.
It’s no surprise that these schools have some of the most innovative libraries in the world. Here at Mango, we love hearing all about innovative, cutting-edge libraries and recently got wind of Harvard University’s Innovation Lab. Even if you don’t have a Harvard-sized endowment at your university, you can still take some of the lessons from this lab to turn your library into a community center and campus resource.
The Harvard University Innovation Lab (or i-lab for short), a library lab designed to foster entrepreneurship on campus and help students grow their ventures, was launched in late 2011. The 30,000 square foot facility is serves as a resource to Boston-area community members, Harvard students, faculty and local entrepreneurs. With over 250 workstations, 24 high-tech conference rooms, classrooms and video conference suite, i-lab users are offered learning resources that extend far beyond books and basic computer access.
A wealth of resources
Much like digital startup incubators around the country, the i-lab is armed with a multitude of resources that help members grow their ideas. On top of the foundational world-class education students receive from professors, the lab provides them with access to experts brought in for events, various challenges, immersion trips, workshops and the Venture Incubation Program, a 12-week mentorship program for student entrepreneurs.
A collaborative approach
The i-lab is unique in that it provides an incredibly collaborative environment not only for students, but for the community as well. Harvard students, faculty members, Boston and Allston locals are all welcome and encouraged to attend i-lab events and use the open areas as a workspace for their organizations. Multiple conference rooms, state-of-the-art technology and a fully stocked kitchen draws many community partners like the Small Business Administration and The Center for Women and Enterprise to hold their own events at the i-lab as well.
Together, all of these resources have created one of the most innovative academic spaces in the country. Combining student and community interaction, growth workshops, mentorship and workspaces reserved for team collaboration molds an environment that’s perfect for student entrepreneurs to take their groundbreaking ideas and nurture them into something tangible.
Are you up-to-date on the latest library resources helping students prepare for post-grad life? If you’re interested in stepping up the resources offered at your library, check out our checklist of the 9 innovations shaping academic libraries today!