Alexandria Co-working Network adds 2 communities
Arizona’s entrepreneurs and innovators will soon have several new places to connect, collaborate and find resources as Arizona State University’s Alexandria Co-working Network expands to include two more communities by this fall.
Designed to provide support for Arizona’s innovation economy, the Alexandria Co-working Network brings together inventors, problem-solvers, entrepreneurs and small businesses in collaboration spaces in public libraries across the state. The network’s first collaboration space, called the Eureka Loft, opened at the Scottsdale Public Library’s Civic Center Library in May.
Two other Valley communities will join the network later this year when libraries in Goodyear and Mesa open their own collaboration spaces. In Goodyear, the collaboration space will be located in the city’s new library, which will be built near Bullard Avenue and Van Buren Street later this year. The Mesa Public Library’s collaboration space will be housed in its Red Mountain Branch.
ASU also is currently in discussions with the City of Phoenix to bring the Alexandria Co-working Network to the Burton Barr Central Library in downtown Phoenix, but staff will ultimately need to bring an agreement to the Phoenix City Council for consideration. In addition, the Tempe Public Library is in discussions with ASU about joining the network.
Each library will create its own collaboration space designed to meet the unique needs of the community it serves. In addition, each library will have the opportunity to name its space, creating a distinctive identity for each location within the network.
The Alexandria Co-working Network’s collaboration spaces combine elements of co-working spaces with expert library fact-finding services and ASU startup resources in one place where innovators, entrepreneurs and others can gather to share ideas and work together. The collaboration spaces, which are free and open to the public during normal library hours, serve as places for people to connect, collaborate and find resources. Local library staff act as champions, offering information resources to their community of innovators.
“The Alexandria Co-working Network leverages the many entrepreneurship resources of ASU to support innovators outside of the traditional startup spaces in Arizona,” said Gordon McConnell, assistant vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development at ASU. “Our vision is to continue expanding the network to provide vital startup support to communities throughout Arizona and eventually further afield.”
The Alexandria Co-working Network is named after the world’s first great library in Alexandria, Egypt, which was established in the third century B.C. The library at Alexandria, and the other libraries in antiquity that followed, were not just about books; in essence, they were society’s first co-working spaces and knowledge hubs. The Alexandria Co-working Network is designed to help the modern library offer similar collaboration spaces with an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, offering the community a major “public good.”
The long-term objective of the Alexandria Co-working Network is to support the hundreds of inventors, problem-solvers, entrepreneurs and small businesses from across Arizona that need help to advance their ideas but don’t currently have access to the necessary tools. The network provides access to resources that people can use to move their ideas forward, including experienced mentors from ASU’s mentor network, "pracademic" (taught by practitioners) classes from ASU’s Rapid Startup School, and physical and digital assets from the libraries. This will ultimately spur economic development and create new products, businesses and jobs across the state.