The Library Pattern

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This page is a part of Design Patterns.

Its content is derived from the presentation "Building a Hacker Space" by Jens Ohlig and Lars Weiler.

Sustainability Patterns Independence Patterns Regularity Patterns Conflict Resolution Patterns Creative Chaos Patterns

This pattern was initiated by mo and riot. Extend me :)


You have lots of interesting books and/or donations of new ones keep coming in. You want a system to keep track of and provide a search interface for your valuable dead tree objects.


  1. Buy or construct lots of shelve space - e.g. Ikea Ivar. Anyone here with DIY instructions for good book shelves?
  2. Formulate a policy for your knowledge service - think about things like: getting lent books back, reference copies, bookcrossing, what to do with crap etc.
  3. Add a webservice/machine to keep track of your catalogue and lenders

There is already a lot of Software to help you along the process. No need for manual tracking cards or to roll your own, unless you want to ;)

Some things make this simpler:

  • A barcode reader (Almost every book has an ISBN or similar)
  • Some colored tape to mark sections/topics
  • Pre-thought! Rearranging hundreds or even thousands of books is PITA

We can even virtually syndicate all hackerspace libraries via a distributed library, because this can be applied as global pattern using already made software. This naturally requires your policy to handle remote lending and returning of media, if it is supposed to be really useful. But even knowing where to get a book is helpful in many cases.

Software Links[edit]

Please add everything usable you can find or wrote yourself!


Once we can agreed on a way to distribute the relevant metadata, we will provide instructions on how to join the federated library system, here :)

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