Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Library Setup

I had my first assignment for Collections Development last week and it was very interesting.  Each student chose a different library to focus on for the semester, and the first thing we had to do was visit that library and observe how it was set up.  I visited my library late on a Thursday afternoon.  As I went through each room, I noted what was there and how it was arranged.  I also focused on who was there and what they were doing.  I normally don’t spend a lot of physical time in the library because I request items through the online library catalog and go directly to the circulation desk to pick them up.  I know where everything is in the library, but I never thought about how it was arranged.  Obviously setting up a library is more complicated than simply placing books on shelves.  It must have an order and be easy to navigate.  I never had to think about that before, but I tried to keep that in mind when I browsed my library.   

The library I chose is small, but everything is organized very well.  The stacks were easy to maneuver, and there were lots of signs telling you where you were and where other items were located.  The lighting was bright and natural.  Every room had at least one study area and a few comfortable chairs.  There were several interactive activities set up for patrons, including a large chess set in the teen area and a community puzzle in one of the quiet rooms.  This particular library had murals on all the stairwell walls, which was a great use of space that is normally ignored.  It made me smile to see all the paintings of characters from books and pop culture.  There were a lot of people in the library, and they were using all parts of the library.  People were studying, working on the puzzles, using the computers, browsing, or simply hanging out.  It was awesome to see so many people using the library.

My main takeaway is that the library truly is a community space.  But how a library becomes a community space is complicated.  Librarians, specifically collections development librarians, are vital to making libraries successful.  They identify what the community needs and build a collection to serve and reflect the local population.  They will also anticipate what the community will need in the future.  Every library is different because every community is different.  I am really excited to delve deeper into how libraries develop their collections and am looking forward to the next assignment.