Get Inspired by the Best Small Library in America 2014

ImageLibrary Journal has announced the winner of the Best Small Library in America 2014 award — it's the Pine River Library in Bayfield (CO), which has a service population of 8,749. Here are some of the services, programs, and collaborations that made PRL a winner.  Do any of them look like something your library could try?

  • Living in a rural community, many residents have poor Internet service (some still have dial-up), and many have little experience with technology, if any. In 2007, the library launched a technology-lending program so patrons could experiment with the newest devices. In six years, the program has grown from the original two laptops to 50 gadgets on loan and an annual circulation of more than 1,000.
  • ... the library began partnering with the Bayfield School District to provide outreach events. The district had just implemented monthly late-start days in the schools for staff training time. During the late-start mornings, the library hosts story time activities for students in grades K-5.  Our adult librarian and our children’s specialist go out to the middle school and elementary school on those late-start mornings and do story hours while teachers get in-service training. Librarians take over for that hour or more,” says Dodson proudly.
  • In March, the library began partnering with the local parks and recreation department to offer yoga classes at the library. A library board member started weekly Pilates classes, and currently there are six exercise classes every week.
  • The library partners with the American Red Cross each year to offer a free babysitter training course for local teens.
  • Because there are only a few businesses and a small population in Bayfield, there are very few options for entertainment, especially for teens. In early 2012, a group of concerned parents worked with PRL to develop a monthly teen activity called “2nd Saturday” teen nights. Like a big party, the nights feature music, games, and activities geared toward youth in grades six to 12. They are held at the library and supported by library staff and a small budget. Dozens of teens attend. “Teens and tweens are dropped off at PRL around 5:30, and the event goes until nine. After they drop the kids, parents can have a date night of their own,” says Dodson.
  • Dodson seized the opportunity to reorganize. “We moved everything around and then went Deweyless, using an arrangement for the collections based mostly on BISAC [Book Industry Standards and Communications]. The Deweyless concept was new to me; I was really skeptical. Now I love it, and our patrons love it,” says Dodson.

Read the whole article to get all the details at Best Small Library in America 2014: Pine River Library, CO. The annual Best Small Library in America Award, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was created in 2005 to encourage and showcase the exemplary work of libraries serving populations under 25,000. The winning library receives a $20,000 cash prize from the Gates Foundation, conference costs for two library representatives to attend the Public Library Association (PLA) biannual conference in 2014 in Indianapolis, and a gala reception at PLA.

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