This Civic Hacker Mapped Every Library and Museum in the United States

Open data opened the door for a very interesting experiment.

Hacking isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, in the case of the National Day of Civic Hacking, it’s a really good thing.

This collaboration between governments and businesses is designed to spark innovation in government services, improve transparency and make use of open data. This year, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency, participated “by providing data and challenges for civic hackers to hack on.” One of the participants took the opportunity to turn some of the agency’s data into two beautiful maps that detail the locations of every library and museum in America. The results show exactly why this kind of event is necessary.

As Emily Badger of The Atlantic Cites mentions, libraries are available to more Americans than any fast food-chain is:

“There’s always that joke that there’s a Starbucks on every corner," says Justin Grimes, a statistician with the Institute of Museum and Library Services in Washington. "But when you really think about it, there’s a public library wherever you go, whether it’s in New York City or some place in rural Montana. Very few communities are not touched by a public library.”

In fact, libraries serve 96.4 percent of the U.S. population, a reach any fast-food franchise can only dream of.

Below you can interact with Grimes’ maps. To see the data he used to build them, click here.

Every Library in America

Every Museum in America

Jun 12 2013