Friday, 17 August 2007

Word of the day

Today's word is third place or thirdplace. Home and work are the first two, and the third place is somewhere else. Word Spy explains what the term means. There are lots of thirdplaces, and the term has caught on in a mild way. Everyone needs some place, other than home and work, where they can feel they belong, and do different things.

I came across it at the Public Libraries Australia conference in Adelaide last week (5-7 August), where the engaging Kate Meyrick of the Honery Institute, who had a closely scheduled plane to catch, presented a lightning paper on the concept of a third place and its relevance to public libraries. The virtuosity of the paper lay not in its speed, however, but in its very comprehensive and fluent examination of the library as a third kind of trusted place. The text does not seem to be available yet.

Interestingly, for me anyway, my own university is an exponent of thirdplace, described in a recent report by our Centre for Regional Development at Lilydale as "'safe' informal social gathering places", fast being supplanted by outlets for the gaming industry. In Queensland the Caloundra public library is a leading exponent of the concept as it relates to public libraries.

I will be away for a fortnight, but please keep thinking and contributing, and I will look forward to reading your comments as I relax and evade various responsibilities.

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