Collection acquisition and management remains a significant component of library operations. Prepping materials at the outset to withstand the unknown elements of circulating life will reduce the need for repairs later.
Over the past ten years, planning and designing children’s libraries has shifted from being book-centric to multidimensional spaces that include imaginative play areas, guided explorations, gaming zones and media centers with a variety of technologies.
Undergoing a major remodel in 2009, the Poplar Creek Public Library worked with their existing 44,000-square foot building, more than doubling their space to 96,000 square feet with an addition, while keeping the needs and desires of their residents in mind.
Getting ready to undergo a complete remodel, the Barrington Area Library is looking forward to completely rethinking the layout of their library and innovating within their existing building shell. Even without going through this full scale plan, it is obvious that library staff continually innovate and try new things throughout their spaces.
Though it is housed in a relatively new building (2002), the Ela Area Library continues to actively update their spaces and services to keep pace with the ever changing needs of their customers.
Visual merchandising has become a hot topic in 21st century libraries. As the focus shifts from warehousing materials to creating spaces for people, a change in emphasis surrounding the visual impact of the library makes sense. We all like to feel welcome in the spaces that we frequent, and the visual appearance of each space often elicits an emotional response.
The Barclay School was built in the 1950s, and the most recent update to the library had taken place in 1993 when the carpet was replaced and the black steel shelving was painted white. This project provided the DEMCO Interiors design team with the challenge of creating an inviting age- and size-appropriate library environment for the school’s second- and third-grade students on a small budget.
With a bit of imagination, we have found that it is possible to do a little refreshing and get more mileage out of a space that has become dated or is less than inspiring. Even though it isn’t always the ultimate solution, a modest investment can often make enough of a difference to start prompting other changes.
Recent visits to several Chicago-area libraries demonstrated that innovation can take a variety of forms. Technology is the most obvious, but we also discovered many other ways the library is innovating to better serve their customers and remain viable long into the future.