Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

TinyCat’s August Library of the Month: The Human Venture Library

To read more about TinyCat’s Library of the Month feature, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

This month we highlight an interesting organization that studies “Human Learning Ecology”, and whose very interesting library helps support this research.

Laura Kennett, Volunteer Board Member of Human Venture Leadership, fielded my questions this month:

First, what is your library, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

We are facing enormous challenges from local to global: poverty, crime, fledgling businesses, inequalities, cultural clashes, illnesses and diseases, human rights abuses, resources depletion, population growth, climate change, and the list goes on. And now more than ever, we need to come together to learn from our historical and current patterns of human striving, failure, and achievement to develop the adaptive capacities to innovate, problem solve, and avoid progress traps. The Human Venture—and its resource library (pictured left)—works to fill this role.

The Human Venture is a community of caring volunteers and life-long learners, based primarily in the politically-charged energy hub of Canada (the province of Alberta), who create a mutual learning community. This community supports increasing numbers of resourceful, resilient, responsible, life-ranging human beings who look at the bigger story in which we are all embedded to think and care across economic, social, and political divides, from the local to the global scale. The Human Venture draws from the lifetime research of Ken Low, as well as the research of others across many fields of endeavor, to create a meta-framework to help see the patterns of human learning in all the noise. Ken Low calls this discipline: Human Learning Ecology, or in other words: Learning how humans learn (or sometimes, how humans fail to learn).

Tell us some interesting ways you support your community.

The Human Venture is made up of two parts: The Human Venture Institute, which focuses on research and development of resources in the field of Human Learning Ecology, and Human Venture Leadership, which is a charitable organization focused on delivering human venture learning programs. Members within each organization take the time to sense and interpret what is happening in the world, in a mutually supportive environment, and then assess their own capacity to respond appropriately to the situation before taking action. Much time is spent looking at current events and how the patterns of thought and action may be similar or dis-similar to historical events. (It’s the patterns that are observed across time and geographical distances that are important for informing wise action and that’s why the Human Venture Library contains such a wide and deep variety of non-fiction books.)

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Some of the books in the Human Venture collection that I found to be most awakening are: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond (pictured left), An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield, and Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris.

What’s a particular challenge you experience as a small library?

Categorizing! The purpose of categorizing is to help people navigate the immense information-scape contained in books. There are many conventional methods to categorizing books. However, life is complex and categorizing books in a coherent manner to help people methodically learn from life is a challenge that we’re still wrangling with. Also, it takes time to reflect an analog collection of several thousands of books that have been compiled over the past 50 years into a digital catalog.

What’s your favorite thing about TinyCat? Anything you’d love to add?

The two things that are great about TinyCat are: 1. That it is so adaptable and we can categorize and re-categorize books as new connections are made between pods of books; and 2. That it has a simple widget that we can display on our website.

Something that would be helpful is if the tags that are applied to books by other users in other libraries could be shared across all libraries. It takes a lot of time to tag books, but the tags applied across library users of many libraries could create a wonderful, community-shared tag list.

Want to learn more about The Human Venture? Visit their website, follow them on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and be sure to explore their library on TinyCat.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Calling all TinyCat libraries: become TinyCat’s next Library of the Month—just send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat


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