On May 2nd Wolfville’s COW will receive and discuss the Annapolis Valley Regional Library’s Needs Assessment Report. In anticipation, I asked two library consultants what a modern library, to serve our community would look like, and what would it contribute to our area to create tangible benefits that it does not now.
Q1: What spaces should we expect in a modern library to serve Wolfville and area?
- Well it would be bigger than the current library. The interior would be attractive, spacious, fully accessible and functional;
- There would be comfortable working and reading areas for those doing research, school projects, or just relaxing to read the newspaper;
- A barrier free design providing all residents with full access to materials and services;
- A children’s area to engage and excite young library users, through pictures, interior design, furnishings and library materials – a place where children will be introduced to the world of reading, information, creativity and imagination;
- Private group study areas equipped with the latest technology and features such as smart boards allowing people to work collaboratively;
- It would be lovely to have a “reading garden” with Internet access to extend the library outdoors, creating a “room” for casual reading and for programming;
- There will definitely be books, so this library will need space for books;
- Appropriate office and work space to support the staff that ultimately make the library a successful and integral part of the community fabric;
- Media labs and “maker space” that inspire creativity and innovation and unleash the imagination. While it is unlikely that quality facilities of this type could be established in a library that served this relatively small population, this could be achieved with partners such as Acadia and public and private educational authorities;
- Accessible washrooms, places to “park” a stroller, ventilation and air conditioning, a coffee corner, sunlight, create an atmosphere where people want to spend their day.
Q2: What programs, activities and services would fill these spaces in a modern library for our community?
- Students, community organizations e.g., a service club, or the business community, public agencies etc., would undertake group projects and benefit from the on-site expertise and resources of the library;
- The library should be a place where residents, service providers, the business community, volunteers etc., come together to discuss important community issues and initiatives;
- Patrons will be entertained at recitals or author readings, lifelong learning through presentations and lectures;
- The library will be recognized as the first place to go for information -whether this is to assist with a job search, research on a family health issue, gather accurate, objective information describing the pros and cons of important issues – the library will be an essential, reliable information resource to help patrons make the important decisions that are part of their life, and the life of their community;
- Programs and services will support learning, skill development and competence with technology and digital literacy, just as we do with traditional literacy programs aimed at reading and writing. This could involve formal training programs as well as less formal means to introduce and assist residents to be comfortable with the technology that increasingly defines how we communicate;
Q3: Do you have any last thoughts?
- Only that a library should be a place that invites people not only to visit – but to stay, a place to congregate to learn, to explore. It could be the centre of your community.
To review the Needs Assessment report go to page 112 of the following document link. https://www.wolfville.ca/component/com_docman/Itemid,264/alias,1647-2017-05-02-cow-meeting-agenda-package/category_slug,2017-cow-meeting-agendas/view,download/