How the Facilities Master Plan Relates to the Community Impact Goals

On the Facilities Master Plan timeline in the lower level someone asked how the Facilities Master Plan relates to the Community Impact Goals.  That’s an excellent question!

Facilities Master Plan Background

First, a little background on the Facilities Master Plan.  When the Facilities Master Plan was created, the following guidelines were approved by the Board of Trustees to help shape the plan:

  • Maintain operation of the building
  • Preserve and increase public space to support learning, literacy and civic engagement
  • Preserve architectural integrity and character
  • Improve people’s ability to use the services, programs, collections and learning experiences provided by a twenty-first century library.
  • Exercise good stewardship of public and private resources

The first aspect of the Facilities Master Plan is maintaining the operation of the building.  This relates to all of the projects related to the maintenance of the building, such as replacing the humidifiers and the roof.

Two of the guidelines relate to the manner in which we will complete these projects.  We will exercise good stewardship of our resources and preserve the architectural integrity of the building.  In other words, we want to make changes to building, but we still want it to feel like a Michael Graves building.

The remaining guidelines are about the work we’ve done on the design of the building.  The first of these is increasing public space to support learning, literacy, and civic engagement.  This directly relates to our Community Impact Goals and designing our building to help us meet these goals.  Many times you have probably heard of talk about “creating more people space”, which comes out of this guideline.

The next guideline is to improve the ability of customers to utilize our services, collections, programs, and learning experiences.  This is another major aspect of all of the redesign of the building.  A large portion of the Facilities Master Plan is about designing the building so that it functions better for our customers.

Many of these improvements are about opening up the building so that customers can easily and intuitively discover everything the library has to offer.  An example of this is the entry into the main library from the Millennium Café.    This creates more ways to circulate throughout the building and gives views and pathways into areas of the library that otherwise may not have been discovered.

Circulation Plaza & Learning Center Project

Of course the Circulation Plaza / Learning Center / Flooring project is probably the most visible to our customers.  My guess is that this is the aspect of the Facilities Master Plan that people are most interested in and how it relates to the Community Impact Goals.

One of the highlights of the current construction project is the creation of the Learning Center.  This is specifically in line with the community impact goal “Everyone will discover their passion for learning.”  It also relates to the other community impact goals as they are all related to learning.  In addition to the Community Impact Goals, this also directly relates to the library mission: “Sparking curiosity and connecting through literacy and learning.”

The new Learning Center will be placed in the heart of the library with direct access from several different areas, including the Circulation Plaza.  With its location and the multiple views into the room, the Learning Center, as well as the importance of learning in our library and community, will be on full display for the public to see.

Just as important as the location is the use of the Learning Center.  We will have learning activities going on in that room every hour the library is open.  This could be through any number of ways, including learning based programs, hands-on activities, or self-directed learning.  Creating this space in this new location and putting such an emphasis on learning is a direct result of our Community Impact Goals.

Another aspect of the project is the renovation of the Circulation Plaza.  A great deal of the work in this space will be focused on opening the space up, creating better sightlines, and more people space.  We will also be bringing more collections and displays into this area.  We hope to make this a fun and welcoming environment, but also one that celebrates reading.  We are doing this through the additional popular collections and rotating displays in the area, comfortable seating, and improved digital signage.

Large Print Collections

One question that was asked was why the Large Print collection is going down in size, especially if this is a space that is supposed to encourage reading.   The first thing to remember is that the Large Print collection will be moving back to its previous location near the front of the building.  However, while it will be in the same location the shelves will be at a different angle and the wall between Large Print and the Circulation Lobby will be removed.  This is to provide customers with a better view of the collection when entering the Circulation Plaza.

All aspects of the design of the Circulation Plaza are interconnected.  One of the main goals of the Facilities Master Plan and this project is to create more people space.  We are also trying to open up the space to create better views into the library, including the Large Print area.  In order to make some of these changes it affects the space available in other areas.  To accomplish these design goals, the Large Print collection needed a smaller footprint.

A smaller collection size does not mean that a collection is not as important or will have less use.  In many instances, reducing the size of the collection can actually lead to an increase in circulation.  Freeing up space and removing less popular items can often make it easier for customers to browse and find something they would like to read.

The current size of the Large Print collection is essentially the same as it will be once it is moved back into the Circulation Plaza.  The bulk of the weeding took place May 2018 – September 2018.  The collection moved in late October 2018.  We can compare the circulation in Nov-Dec 2018 after the move and weeding to Nov-Dec 2017 before the move and the weeding.

 

Nov – Dec 2017 Nov – Dec 2018 % Change
New and Express Large Print 3,803 2,288 -39.8%
Regular Large Print 9,233 9,886 7.1%
Total Large Print 13,036 12,174 -6.6%
Total Physical Circulation All Materials 313,752 282,663 -9.9%

 

The circulation of our New and Express Large Print has decreased quite a bit since the move to the temporary location.  These collections are roughly the same size as they were last year.  The majority of the weeding was done to the rest of the Large Print collections.  The circulation of those older collections has actually gone up a little bit since last year.

I feel confident that the size of the Large Print collection is sufficient to fill the demand as demonstrated by the strong numbers of the regular collection after the weeding and the move.  The decrease of the New and Express collections is more than likely caused by the move to a less visible area since the size stayed roughly the same. However, the decrease in overall Large Print circulation is actually less than the decrease in circulation of all of our physical collections.  Moving these collections back up front and making them even more visible and accessible than before will hopefully make them even more popular than before even though the collection is slightly smaller.

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