Every librarian dreams of a shiny new library, where everything is perfect and new. I am one of the lucky few who actually had the chance to experience a library move, and it is as wonderful as I have dreamed. There are, however, a lot of things that come along with moving to a new building that you don’t dream about.
One of the biggest challenges faced by my new library has been location. We moved away from our old building by several miles, and are now in a more rural location that public transportation does not currently run to. We used to be right next to a large apartment complex, and many of our former patrons no longer frequent the library since they cannot walk over like they used to. We librarians have found ourselves doing lots of outreach and bringing the local schools many more books to help supplement the fact that some students are unable to reach us as easily as before. We have perfected our elevator speeches to the t, explaining our new location and all the wonderful amenities it has to offer, and we have been telling people nonstop to help promote traffic to the new building. We also have become excellent at giving directions and pointing out landmarks to make it easier for people to find us so that they can visit and enjoy the new space.
Another thing that isn’t disclosed when you move is the fact that some patrons will not be happy, no matter how beautiful your new building is. Patrons will complain that they don’t know where things are like they did in the old building, that the walk from one end to the other is too long, or, as one loving lady told me, that the building “looks like an Aldi.” We have learned to smile and thank them for their input, to be empathetic to their commentary, and to point out features they may not have noticed to help brighten their outlook.
While nothing is ever perfect, my library is about as close to perfect as possible. And while my colleagues and I have had to learn new tactics for advocating our library and promoting our resources, I don’t think one of us would change it for the world.
Our guest blogger today is Ellen Norton. Ellen is a Children’s Librarian at the Crest Hill Branch of the White Oak Library District. In her free time she loves reading, running, and going on adventures. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.
If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at email@example.com.