OCLC Selects 15 New Participants for Smart Spaces in Small Libraries

OCLC has selected 15 public libraries to participate in its “Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces” project. This will be the second cohort to participate in the initiative, led in partnership with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL). “Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces” was funded by a $223,120 award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to create a second iteration of the original 2016 National Leadership Grant project .

OCLC logoOCLC has selected 15 public libraries to participate in its “Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces” project. This will be the second cohort to participate in the initiative, led in partnership with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL). “Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces” was funded by a $223,120 award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to create a second iteration of the original 2016 National Leadership Grant project.

Over a 15-month period, staff from each library will be guided through a program designed by WebJunction, part of OCLC Research, in which they will work with community members to reimagine existing space in their libraries “to encourage socially engaging and active learning,” according to a press release. Through nine online modules, participants will learn and apply principles of placemaking, community engagement, and human-centered space and service design, which include gathering community input, action planning, and prototyping.

Using a $5,000 subgrant for materials, each library will then create their learning spaces. Participants from the first Smart Spaces cohort will be on hand to support the new group with advice gleaned from their own experiences .

“We’re excited that the success of the first 15 libraries has enabled us to expand the project to a total of 30 rural and small libraries in 24 states,” said WebJunction director Sharon Streams in a statement. “Every community and library we’re working with is unique, and we’re looking forward to seeing the stories of transformation unfold for each one.”

The selected libraries, chosen from among 120 applications from 38 states, serve communities ranging in size from 900 to 15,500 people. They are:

Beardsley & Memorial Library, Winsted, CT, population served 15,000. The library serves the residents of Barkhamsted, Colebrook, and Winchester in northwest Connecticut. The original one-room building was expanded in 1899, 1985, and again in 2003, converting the basement area to house collections, offices, and a community room. Recently the main floor circulation area and the main reading room were renovated as well.

Burnsville Public Library, WV, population served 3,760. Opened in 1976, the library was part of a concerted effort in the early 1970s by federal, state and city governments to provide library service to rural West Virginia.

Caruthersville Public Library, MO, population served 5,702. The library was founded in 1922, and relocated in 1940 as part of a WPA project. The current 12,000 square foot building, built in 2002, contains a number of amenities including a 104-seat theater/auditorium and an outdoor reading pavilion.

Dodge Center Public Library, MN, population served, 6,900. Among the services offered by this small library in southern Minnesota, patrons can check out snowshoes, provided by a Statewide Health Improvement Partnership grant.

Fayette Public Library, La Grange, TX, population served 4,680. The library building, completed in 1978 and expanded to over 15,000 square feet in 2005, holds the Fayette Heritage Museum and Archives as well as the library.

Jackson County Public Library, McKee, KY, population served 13,500. The library’s mission includes supporting local students at the elementary and secondary levels and early literacy. In addition to extensive reference materials and databases, it makes a special effort to acquire materials listed as supplemental sources in textbooks used by local education providers.

Laurel Public Library, DE, population served 15,500. The current two-story space, completed in 2006, hosts the Delaware Room, a local history collection, as well as facilities for genealogical research, plus a community room with a kitchen.

Lopez Island Library, WA, population served, 2,500. Over the past 60 years, the library has grown from the basement of a private home to a remodeled Little Red Schoolhouse—which was eventually moved across the street and refurbished, thanks to legislation that allows an individual island to become a taxing district.

Poy Sippi Public Library, WI, population served 909. Originally located on the second floor of the town’s school, the library moved into former classrooms when the school was replaced. It is part of the 30-member Winnefox Library System.

Redfield Carnegie Library, Redfield, SD, population served 2,295. the oldest Carnegie in continuous use as a library in the state, it was built with a $10,000 endowment in 1902 and received an addition in 2008. Because of school construction, it currently also serves as the Redfield Public School’s media center.

Santo Domingo Pueblo Library, NM, population served 5,261. Serving what is now known as the Kewa Pueblo, the library is one of four in the Middle Rio Grande consortium, which teamed up on an E-rate broadband program to bring fiber optics to Tribal schools and libraries.

Show Low Public Library, AZ, population served 11,100. The library has moved four times from its original 1932 home in the local post office, to its current 14,400 square foot location, and nearly triples its population served during the summer due to seasonal residents and visitors.

Steeleville Area Public Library, IL, population served 4,698. The library was established as the Steeleville Reading Center in 1971 under the sponsorship of a local sorority. A library district was created in 1982, and a new building constructed in 2008.

Surgoinsville Public Library, TN, population served 1,788. One of three members of the Hawkins County Library, the approximately 1,800 square foot space was built by the town Medical Board. Residents hope to convert the library’s basement into a historical museum and archive.

Waimea Public Library, HI, population served 5,500. One of the smallest in the state library system, the library recently collaborated with local Waimea High School graphic artists for new public signage.

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Lisa Peet

Lisa Peet is Associate Editor, News for Library Journal.

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