May 23, 2018

LJ Leads the Change with Its Library Design Workshop

151208_DesignWorkshopLibrary renovation and construction projects can be intimidating for those who are part of the planning process—especially if this involves stepping into a new role.

Library Journal’s newest Lead the Change online course, Library Design Workshop: Create the Library Your Community or Campus Needs, will offer librarians and library leaders the tools they need to move forward with design projects of all sizes and scopes. The four-week interactive course, led by Emily Puckett Rodgers, program manager at the University of Michigan School of Information and a 2013 LJ Mover & Shaker, starts on January 27. The workshop will feature experienced design thinkers, architects, and librarians speaking in live keynote sessions where they will provide guidance on fundraising, space programming, prioritizing the work process, and how to find the best design team for the library’s needs. Assignments, online discussion through the class forum, and personalized feedback in real time will ensure that participants will come away with information they can use—new and inspiring ideas and perspectives; a framework for creating reports to show administration, funders, staff, and other stakeholders; and an actionable roadmap for creating the right space for their library.

Keynote speaker Elliot Felix, founder of Brightspot Strategy, has worked with public and academic libraries and museums across the country “to engage in a conversation around transforming large public service organizations to think about their roles, offerings, and experiences, and providing tactics they can use,” Puckett said in a webcast preview on December 9. “He’ll be helping us think about the bigger picture framework…the motivations that drive us in making design decisions.”

In addition, speakers will include Mary Ann Mavrinac, vice provost of the Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester, NY; Peter Pearson and Karen Rose of the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library; Melanie Huggins, executive director of the Richland Public Library, SC; Nancy Allen, dean and director of the Penrose Library, University of Denver; and Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, coordinator of library sustainability at the Mid-Hudson Library System, NY.

In the preview webcast, available on demand at, Rodgers—who has been involved in space planning in both public and academic libraries, as well as serving as project coordinator for LJ’s New Landmark Libraries series and participating in LJ’s semi-annual Design Institute programs—offered an overview of the course, sharing insights and answering questions from attendees.

“What I think is really exciting about this opportunity is that you’ll be listening to presentations from a cross-section of people that are involved in the design process,” Rodgers told attendees. “It’s not just architects who will be talking about their own perspective, it’s not just library leaders, but it’s a good combination of people who are involved all the way from the fundraising process to the implementation process, the management process, as well as design. And in that respect you will be able to engage with the speakers a little bit more deeply, in the actual workshops and with each other in the classroom.”

Rodgers also noted that the course isn’t only for those currently involved in the design process, but will have plenty to offer librarians interested in finding out more about what library design involves.

“Something that I think is valuable in this context…is that you can apply some of the techniques and tools of the design process to rethinking your own services, thinking about the collections and how you’re developing them, regardless of whether you’re actually engaged in a major renovation or not. There’s a lot that can happen with little investment in tearing down or building walls…. You can use and translate the design process into other facets of library work and services.”

Lisa Peet About Lisa Peet

Lisa Peet is Associate Editor, News for Library Journal.

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