Through this 2-year project, 15 small public libraries serving rural or otherwise remote communities will be selected to participate in an online orientation and community of practice facilitated by WebJunction. They will work with each other and their communities to reimagine and reconfigure their library spaces as hubs of active learning and engagement. Participating libraries will be selected by the end of 2016 through a competitive application process, and begin their learning in early 2017.
Each participating library will begin by reaching out to engage community members in the vision and the plan for the space. Prototypes will be created and tested with patrons, and libraries will create action plans to guide their comprehensive space and service transformations. Libraries will also gather community feedback regarding use of the spaces once they are transformed, and share case studies and resources for the wider library community to learn from. WebJunction staff and collaborating subject matter experts will guide participating libraries as they learn in-depth the many concepts and steps in creating smart spaces, using WebJunction's interactive online learning platform.
OCLC will provide each library with "up to $5,000 in federal grant funds for allowable expenses associated with their space transformation (though libraries may choose to invest more from their own operating budgets.) Allowable expenses generally include items like furniture, décor, computer equipment, lighting, shelving, shipping, etc."
Overall time commitment: the 17-month period spanning February 2017 through June 2018. At a minimum, "you can expect to spend an average of four hours a week over the 17 months, with periods of greater or lesser intensity depending upon the phase of engagement."
As a result of participation in this program, your library will:
- Engage community members and local partners to create a new, dynamic space at the library that supports active learning;
- Be better prepared to quickly adapt the use of library space in response to evolving community needs and interests; and
- Strengthen or deepen relationships with community and local partners to magnify the library’s role in providing active learning opportunities for all.
Launched in July 2016, the Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces two-year program is made possible by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and is implemented in partnership by WebJunction and the Association for Rural and Small Libraries.
• Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces web page
• Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces: Participant Overview