|The view from the front of the library to the back. The big difference from last year: tables have been reoriented and our central unit of shelves has been removed. The space is feels bigger, airier, and more unified.|
How did we do it?
- Combine little collections: Yes, it makes sense for many institutions to have a professional collection and an oversized collection and loads of other collections. But the statistics show that this model does not work for the students here. Rather than getting rid of all these resources we just changed things up a bit. Now the non-fiction collection is home to reference, oversized books, and all of the other smaller collections. In time this will show if the materials were not being used because they couldn't be found or because they do not match the needs of the curriculum.
- Give prominent space to things we want students to find: The last three summers the fiction has moved. From the shelves below windows where students were forced to pitifully crawl and search for the perfect novel, they originally moved on to a real wall with room to grow. But this year, fiction has been honored with the best wall in the library. With the reference not needing space, the fiction collection now is right next to the reference desk.
- Take the advise that your boss gives you: Right before school started the director of the school requested that we move a shelf that has been in the middle of the library forever. For classes it provides a physical division of space. The plan was to move it for workshops, then have it back before school starts. That was until it was moved. Suddenly the library felt twice as big, and a teacher took the huge shelf to his room the day before school started. A win for all.
Almost a full quarter into the school year, students are still trying to figure out how the library got bigger over the summer, and the librarians are so happy with how the space flows and is being used.