Dare to Dream: Visioning Your Library

Primary author: Susan Green

Susan Green introducing the Dare to Dream tool.

I invite you and your community to go on a journey and experiment with what can be done to your library space if you all dare to dream.

What is in this tool?

  • Look at your library through a new lens
  • Write an aspiration for your library space
  • Plan a project which enhances the library space

Sometimes we are afraid to look at what 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 aside and make believe the “sky’s the limit.” Let’s try not to censor our thoughts and ideas. We 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.

LISTEN: “She just by changing things right it just it feels fresh and new and vibrant and it’s a comfortable place. It’s always been nice to comfortable place to come to but it’s like she’s created a new place.” –“James”, interview #5-2-04

Begin with this visioning exercise:

These exercises can be done alone or with a group (eg. Friends of the Library, Board of Trustees, focus group, or staff.) You can have each person do the exercise separately or in a small groups and report back to the whole group. Write the ideas on a big piece of paper for everyone to see and then have people put stars next to the ideas they support. 

Visioning exercise with library director Susan Green

[Transcript of audio version] Find a place where you can really relax. It can be in your home, on a special walking trail, your garden, the library when you are alone, your bedroom, anywhere you can let your mind wander freely. Close your eyes and breathe deeply and comfortably until you begin to relax. Now when you feel calm and ready to let go of every distraction around you, picture your library as it is right now. Look at every detail of it, where the shelves are, your desk, the entrance to the library, let yourself visualize every nook and cranny, inside and out. Make a mental note of which part of the visualization gives you a sense of well being and when something doesn’t feel right. Keep visualizing different parts of your library. You can also do the scan with your eyes open, right in the library if the other way feels uncomfortable. You can wander around the library and take actual notes about what feels like it is working and what doesn’t. The purpose to this exercise is to allow ideas to percolate. Try to let go of the intellectual mind and allow the intuitive mind to take over and dream up new ways to perceive the space.

Further Resources

Want to learn more about making the library a place where everyone feels welcome and comfortable? See “Is Everyone Welcome at Your Library” and “The Library as the Community’s Welcome Center”.