The West Jordan Library, UT, is the new central headquarters for the Salt Lake County Library (SLCL) system. You might think a building of more than 70,000 square feet would not have to worry about efficient ways to make space do double, or even triple, duty. But when it houses 20,000 square feet of administration, management support, and information technology and another 20,000 square feet of library proper including room for 150,000 titles, it makes sense that the 7,100 square foot community room is designed to serve multiple functions.
At Lead the Change workshops, local library leaders help facilitate the presentation, adding their own perspectives on the concepts presented by program developer David Bendekovic. But they don’t usually bring their own visual aids. The Southern California workshop, held on May 15 at the Pasadena Public Library (PPL), was an exception. PPL director Jan Sanders brought a giant foamcore version of one of Bendekovic’s slides, on which she’d asked library staff members to plot where they felt their library stood.
For patrons who live in rural areas, finding the book they want is not always easy. The local library can’t collect everything, and interlibrary loan (ILL) can be slow to deliver, if it is even available. Purchase and fast shipping from Internet booksellers like Amazon.com offer an alternative, but not everyone can afford it. Now, the California State Library (CSL) has embarked on a pilot project to redress that situation.
Lobbying for libraries can be a painfully earnest affair. But not so in New York State, where the New York Library Association (NYLA) adopted a playful new strategy to reach legislators and their staffs where they may be at their most receptive—relaxing with a drink after work. NYLA didn’t break the rules by buying beverages for lawmakers…it simply provided a coaster for them.
In “A Genius Idea?,” Michael Stephens’s recent Office Hours column (LJ 3/15/14), Stephens refers to a post on the Librarian Shaming Tumblr that called for libraries to have their own “Genius Bars,” reminiscent of the Apple Store’s famous retail innovation. As Stephens points out, many libraries are already adopting—and adapting—this concept.
Collection development starts with the budget. In Cuyahoga County, OH, that means the library’s executive team, led by Director Sari Feldman, and administrative team, led by Deputy Director Tracy Strobel, sit down and crunch the numbers. Once Wendy Bartlett, collection development manager, gets the resulting figure—some $8.5 million this year—she must divvy it up into all the various subjects, genres, and formats necessary to serve best the library system’s 28 branches and 884,035 cardholders—and maximize circulation of its materials, which reached 20,613,810 in 2012.
When librarian Elke Bruton from the State Library of Oregon (pictured) and four of her colleagues attended Lead the Change! Oregon at Portland’s Central Library in April 2013, they were told they should give a report when they got back. But, she tells LJ, “We said, we don’t want to do that. Out of context, it doesn’t mean anything.” Instead, the team met to digest their own takeaways and turn them into training for their coworkers.
Lots of libraries run a One Book, One Community communitywide reading program. But we only know of one that published the book itself: Sacramento Public Library, CA. The library didn’t just promote One Book to its core audience of already-active patrons; it reached out with some very unconventional, award-winning marketing.
Whether a library is designing a building or a program, the first premise of designing for impact is figuring out what impact you’re trying to make and how you’re going to assess whether that impact is occurring. One of the most common buzzwords in librarianship today is “outcomes, not outputs.” In other words, measuring not quantitative metrics of what libraries do, such as circulation or visits, but what impact those activities have on the lives of their patrons.
As I got ready to tour the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University (NCSU), Raleigh, last spring, as part of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) meeting held nearby, the buzz about the newly unveiled building had reached such a level that I expected to find it, however cool, overhyped. It wasn’t. It was exactly the right amount of hyped. “Every corner of the Hunt Library is designed to be memorable and stunning,” the library’s vision claims. Grandiose as that might sound, those corners deliver.