Blogger Chelsey Roos

What’s Your Dream Library?

My library is currently undergoing a top-to-bottom renovation, and it’s gotten me thinking: if money were no object, what would your dream library look like? Do you have one specific creative project you’d love to do? Or have you been yearning for a completely new youth space? Here are my top four library design dreams.

1. A Sensory Space

A quiet, chill-out space for families on the spectrum, patrons with sensory processing needs, or anyone who needs to break away from the overwhelm of a chaotic family storytime. Ideally this would be a separate room with a door that closes to block out noise, with lights that can be dimmed and good sensory tools. Check out this amazing example from the Louisville (Ohio) Public Library, which includes both a calm, relaxing area to decompress as well as an engaging space for sensory-seekers. This Sensory Space is designed for everyone from autistic patrons to older adults with dementia. It’s a multi-generational dream!

A softly lit room with cozy seating, glowing toys, and space to move around in the Louisville Public Library's Sensory Space.
The Louisville Public Library Sensory Space

2. An Outdoor Performance Space

I live in California, where outdoor programs can happen through most of the year (depending on the wildfire smoke, that is). But I’ve never worked for a library that had a really thriving outdoor space. A stage, an amphitheater, a big grassy field – anywhere we could host performers, put on giant storytimes, and get lots of physical play outside would be perfection.

A large outdoor concert against a mountain backdrop at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. I said money was no object 🙂

3. Getting Rid of That One Thing 

Every library has one. That One Thing makes you wonder what the powers-that-be were thinking. It might be a safety hazard, like the gigantic metal beam that ran at a diagonal right through my children’s section and looked exactly like a slide, but definitely was not a slide (it lead directly into a floor-to-ceiling window). It might be a play feature that seemed cool at first, but has since become a staff nightmare (that life-size pirate ship was awesome until staff were constantly policing kids taking a running leap off of it and onto the cement floors). Maybe you have miles of shelving blocking your line of sight, or a beloved stuffed animal the size of a small horse that hasn’t been cleaned since 1981. Whatever it is, let’s wave a magic wand and make it disappear.

4. The Biggest Storage Closet You’ve Ever Seen

Crafts. Storytime manipulatives. Play spaces. Maker activities. All of these are limited if you don’t have the space to store your supplies. I’d like a Room of Requirement, please, with a giant table to cut out craft pieces, room for every building supply under the sun, and an alphabetized filing cabinet of puppets.

A gigantic warehouse of boxes stacked to the ceiling.
And over here you’ll see our collection of flannel boards, dating back to 1973.

Of course, money is an object. When my library reopens, I probably won’t have an infinite puppet space or a rollicking amphitheater. Hopefully we’ll have a functioning elevator!

What would your dream renovation be? Do you have That One Thing you’d like to get rid of? You might inspire somebody’s next grant!

Today’s blogger is Chelsey Roos. Chelsey has been a member of ALSC’s Advocacy and Legislation committee, and is a children’s librarian for Santa Clara County Library.

This blog relates to ALSC Core Competencies of I. Commitment to Client Group

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