The week I started working in my library I discovered the summer reading programs historically took place in the nearby city hall building. Not in the library, and not in a space connected to the library. The city hall building has sufficient space, whereas my library does not. Outside of the logistical staffing issues (pulling a librarian into city hall left a gap), there are a few big “this is really important and should change” reasons why I’m working to change it for this summer.
I want kids to connect awesome summer experiences with the library
When kids think of the library, I want them to remember the funny juggler, the talented musicians, and the awe of the magician. I don’t want them to only think about the library as a space for quiet reading or where they have to visit to get a book resource for their research paper.
I want my circulation to increase
Higher circulation means more books in the hands of kids in my community. By hosting library events and programs in a space outside the library, it’s asking caregivers to wrestle with their kids either before or after the program to get them into the library. It needs to be easier for summer reading participants to check out library materials.
I want more opportunity to meet and talk to “my” families
Perhaps the most satisfying part of library work is connecting with families in the community and supporting their literacy and learning needs. By providing a welcoming environment before and after summer programs I will have a better opportunity to meet and talk with these families.
I want my library to better reflect the needs of the community
As part of my grad school work, I conducted an observational research study for the director of the library system. Through this research, we discovered library users are coming to the library more often than perceived to use the library as a space–to collaborate, to study, to read, etc. Providing more room for these activities will benefit the library as a whole.
I think it’s possible
With support from my manager and the rest of the library staff (it turns out they have had discussions about working to change it before my time. Logistics and other priorities simply kept it from moving forward), I’m confident we can open up the current children’s area to make more room for programming. We aren’t asking to break down walls and completely reconfigure the entire library, but are asking for some additional resources and rethinking the layout of the collection.
More on this process to come. In the meantime, I’ll still be working on patience 🙂