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Virtual Mapping of Public Libraries

After thinking about which public spaces in my local community have had the biggest impact on me, I considered one which has helped me further my education and bolstered my enjoyment of reading: my public library! The Northern New Jersey Public Libraries Map highlights this invaluable resource which encourages literacy, education, research, and social interaction, all for free.

With this community resource in mind, I started to think about how to map them. After doing some research, I discovered that my local library was part of a larger system called the Bergen County Community Library System (BCCLS), and found the organization’s website extremely helpful. After finding the names and addresses of all the local public libraries, I knew I needed to find their coordinates to map them, so I used the geocoding platform, My Geo Position. With all of this information on a spreadsheet, I was ready to publish the northern New Jersey libraries on the Open Green Map platform, and after a few days of data entry had an interactive Green Map with 80 sites!

Not only was this experience helpful in teaching me to use Green Map’s community mapping platform, it showed me which communities had better access to local libraries and which areas needed improvement. In addition, this project led me to think further about what a library means to its users. Local libraries today offer much more than books: many offer free WIFI, movie rentals, music, and yes- maps! I am appreciative of my proximity to my public library and think it’s important that we all stop by our libraries to see what they bring locally.

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