ALA Midwinter 2020

#ALAmw20 – Day 2

Yesterday was a whirlwind. So many interesting sessions to attend and lots of walking (this place is BIG).

Top 2 Takeaways from Day 2 –

  1. I started my day learning about Civic Innovation with the Reading Terminal Market manager, Anuj Gupta and Ariel Ben-Amos from StreetBoxPHL. It was very interesting to hear how both are engaging with the community. One idea I keep thinking about from Gupta’s presentation is the Day Stall Merchant program they have at Reading Market. This program allows folks who want to start selling their goods at the market to do so in an inexpensive, low risk way. I can see libraries offering something similar – a craft fair of sorts? I also loved how StreetBoxPHL creates “parklets.” This is something I had never heard of – a kind of “pop up” park in a parking space. So innovative! Many libraries are already doing “pop up” models in their communities, but I love the idea of perhaps a cozy pop up reading space?
  2. I ended my day with what was more of a discussion than a presentation about library space and how we design our spaces for the “other.” How do we think about minoritized users in our space? There was a lot of thoughtful discussion about how spaces are used and what our signage or policies might be saying to our users. For example, do we offer prayer spaces? Are all of our signs negative? Are they all in small font or in the same color? I left that session with a lot of questions about space and ideas about how space can be utilized.

I’m just about halfway through Day 3 and learning so much – how about you?

Valerie Byrd Fort is an Instructor at the University of South Carolina for the School of Library & Information Science. She teaches courses related to children’s materials and school libraries. 


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