Here’s an article so full to the brim with steaming hot ideas; it’s like a cup of coffee!
Nate Hill, a library worker in New York, has a great idea for something called “Library Outposts.” Basically, the library is turned from an “organized, publicly accessible book warehouse” to a more fluid, open space. His Library Outposts have no physical collection of their own, instead they offer computer access to items in a consortium and the library serves as a place to pick up holds as well as a place for digital access, reference, public meetings, programing and study. What would such a library look like? More like a bookstore, probably; they could even serve food or drinks and offer comfortable places to sit and use Wi-Fi. The Library Outpost idea was first envisioned for heavily-populated urban areas, but couldn’t we do something like that in our building? Rather than pushing for a newer, larger space, couldn’t we change our existing space into something better?
On a related note, we currently have almost $100,000 in our bank account for capital improvements. We have been accruing this money for the past decade, spending a thousand dollars a year on new computers and squirreling the rest away. This is money that comes from the Washington County library tax that is paid for by property-owners in the townships around Kewaskum. What have they gotten from the $10,000 they give us every year? A handful of new computers and some plastic spinning racks for audiobooks. Wouldn’t it be great to say that we have a plan for what we’re going to do with this money and that it’s going to make the library a better and better-used facility? Maybe the Library Outpost idea is a step in the right direction for us?