About this Resource
I invite you to go on a journey and experiment with what can be done to your library space if you dare to dream.
Rural libraries have come a long way from the libraries of the past when libraries were predominantly places where patrons borrowed books. Now libraries serve as centers for their communities. They provide a place for people to meet, catch-up on the news, learn new things, use computers and internet service, and attend events and programs for people of all ages. This puts a strain on rural libraries that are often located in spaces that are insufficient for the changing needs of the communities they serve.
Sometimes we are afraid to look at what changes our library needs because it may cost too much or there may not be the resources and people to support making the change. We may be too tired from the day-to-day running of our library to imagine taking on another project. Let us try to put all of the barriers to making change aside and make believe the “the sky’s the limit”. Try not to censor your thoughts and ideas. You may have to pare down some of them and put them on a to-do list for the far future, but this work is important.
I am the director/librarian in a rural library in Vermont with 1,500 people. My library is located in a building, The Old Schoolhouse Common, which also houses the Town Clerk’s office, a meeting room for the Town Selectboard and other town committees and commissions, the Onion River Food Shelf, and area organizations and businesses. When I first came to the library as director, I saw right away the library needed more space and other changes to the environment. I spent a year working, watching patrons trip on the very old wrinkled rug, older youth looking for a place to call their own, and closets overflowing with unused items. I felt helpless to change anything because I it seemed like the budget was set in stone. The librarian before had already done a campaign to add on another room for programming. It didn’t look like the community was ready to change anything. It took me a while to dare to dream up what I thought would make the library a better space and a few years to make the dream come true. I made this tool to help other librarians dare to dream.
Tool - Dare to Dream: Visioning Your Library
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