April 19, 2018

A New Style of Library

Don’t want you to miss this — the recent announcement of Anythink, the recently rebranded library in Adams County, Colorado and announced on September 12th. You’ll really want to take a look. 

Here’s a library that has had the steel nerves to change the historic model. Some of the dramatic shifts they’ve made:

Elimination of fines
Elimination of Dewey Decimal system

But most dramatically, they’ve moved from their core brand — books — to a customer-focused experience.  In their words: “Anythink is a new style of library that offers memorable experiences and transformations for its customers,” says Rangeview Library District director Pam Sandlian Smith. “Anythink is a place where you can find more than just books; you can play video games, download audio books right to your iPod, read quietly by a fireplace, or interact with information – not just be a passive recipient of it. …”

Note especially their new logo. It reminds me of when we changed our logo in 2006. We came

down to a couple of options: one was more traditional and evoked books. That is the one we chose and it has worked well for us. The other one was very similar to this one in Colorado, but we weren’t ready culturally to make the move away from our core. It is exciting to me to see this step in a new direction and we’ll all no doubt be watching this closely. What do you think of this new direction? 

What do you think of this new library concept?
Love it!
I’m not there yet.
Don’t like it at all.
pollcode.com free polls

P.S. Be sure to watch their video. Awesome!


Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.



  1. The elimination of fines is a good idea, one that has been debated for years. But every library/media center needs some kind of organization. It is currently in vogue to diss Dewey, but I’ve yet to see anything that comes close to a universally accepted system. In my town, customers want fast food library. In and out quickly while filling their bellies or heads. We still need Dewey or some semblance so that we can find the books, audiobooks, dvds, etc and run them out to the car quickly so that our customers can get on with their lives. We do not have a consumer base that wants to linger by a fire, or browse endlessly in disorganized stacks. Keep thinking folks. This is not the answer to the library of the future.

  2. Sallyann,

    Is there really no time in you town for book clubs, youth theater programs, cooking demonstrations or even a puppet show?

    Surely one or two small business people in your town slow down to get coffee at Starbucks? There must be a handful of busy Moms who have found time to chat at Barnes and Noble. If these brands can attract customers and become a part of their very busy lifestyles then why can’t a library?

    It is unlikely that the people of your town are busier than anyone else. What is certain from your description is that they actively choose to spend their time in any number of places—other than the library.

    IF America’s libraries are going to earn new consideration from the public, they have to move beyond stereotypical expectations. In the words of Henry Ford, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for a faster horse.”

    Anythink is a daring new concept. Some degree of skepticism is fair. But the close of your critique seems more emotional and exaggerated than helpful. Is it really constructive to suggest people will be left to “browse endlessly in disorganized stacks”?

    I do agree with you that we ALL need to keep thinking? And asking how can the modern library be more valuable than a depository and file system for books and media.

  3. Jacqueline Seewald says:

    It will be interesting to follow this experiment and see how well it works out. Time will tell.

    Jacqueline Seewald
    author of THE DROWNING POOL,
    Five Star/Gale 2009
    THE INFERNO COLLECTION, Five Star hardcover, Wheeler large print 2008

  4. Sandy from Rangeview says:

    The Anythink system is highly organized, but it’s organized by words rather than numbers. Instead of looking for 636.1, customers can look for the animal section and then look for horses in that section. The spines of the books are clearly labeled. I think it will help people be more efficient with their time when they’re in a hurry. I’m anxious for my branch to convert to the new system!

  5. Neither of the “dramatic shifts” are new, but I am glad to see libraries embracing these concepts. Not sure why they had to rebrand with a trademarked name, you could substitute the word “libraries” for Anythink in the director’s quote and you’ve just described most libraries across the country. The rebranding made me think of it as more corporate and less homey, in their defense I’m sure a visit to the branch would dispel that thought. Hopefully the community keeps funding them, Timberland Regional Library recently had to switch to a fine system after many years of no-fines.

  6. Pam Sandlian Smith is one of the great visionaries of our profession. In 10 years (maybe 20) many libraries will look like Rangeview looks now. Of course Rangeview will be amazingly different in 10 years!

  7. Ink Paper Words says:

    “they’ve moved from their core brand — books — to a customer-focused experience”

    How does this differ from what has gone before? One may of course “brand” the building and service any way one chooses, but I bet your patr…errr…make that “customers” will still refer to it as “the library.”

  8. I really like this post http://blog.libraryjournal.com/bubbleroom/2009/09/22/a-new-style-of-library/ because its genuinely awesome info. I feel surely check out some other posts of yours they are interesting. :)