Redesigning the Public Library: A New Model for a New World


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Report on the project to reinvent public libraries in the Wayne Library Alliance (Wayne, PA). This project was made possible by LSTA funds provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Office of Commonwealth Libraries.

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Redesigning the Public Library: A New Model for a New World

  1. 1. REDESIGNING THE PUBLIC LIBRARYWayne Library Alliance
  2. 2. Introductions LSTA Funding Office of Molly Rodgers Commonwealth Administrator Libraries Wayne Library Alliance 7 libraries The Project 7 directors Lyn Hopper 8 boards 4 friends groups Consultants Karen Hyman Stephen Spohn
  3. 3. Project Objectives
  4. 4. Project Questions1.  Being essential to our users2.  Choices to kickstart change3.  Impacts of competition4.  Impacts of technology5.  Advocacy and funding6.  Staff competencies7.  New roles and “traditional” roles
  5. 5. Our Approach •  Users •  Operations •  NonusersEngagement Review •  Documentation •  Leaders •  Trends •  Trustees •  Core Values •  Reinventing Libraries •  StrategicReadiness for Planning for Choices Change •  Scenario Transformation Planning •  Sustainable Systems
  6. 6. About the Wayne Library Alliance  Before 1999 •  7 independent libraries competing for patrons, donors, attention •  5 of seven were not state-aided  2000-2011 •  7 members of a federated system sharing a catalog, county delivery, online resources, and political recognition
  7. 7. Why Wayne  We are •  Rural, estimated population 52,000 •  Low-income, limited economy, transportation issues •  Libraries are underfunded. •  In townships, the local library is often the only thing. It may be small but it is valued. We are like many other rural counties in PA.
  8. 8. Why Now  After state aid cuts in 2010, conversations were about the growing gaps we faced •  Between funding and standards. •  Between funding and demand for services. •  Between boards that were functioning and those that were not. •  Between the past and the future.  Deal with stress fractures by letting go of what isn’t important and focusing on what is important according to the community itself, not boards or staff.
  9. 9. Project TimelineMay 2011! Jul 2011!Project Kickoff Focus Groups Interviews Library Visits MeetingAug 2011! Sep 2011! Nov 2011! Reinventing Scenario Planning for Review and Libraries Planning Transformation Implementation Workshop
  10. 10. Project Kickoff  What and how?   Project objectives, questions, approaches  Who?   Users, community partners, mix of board and library staff  What else?   Board member engagement   More nonusers/leaders
  11. 11. Community Research Highlights   Teens, “Stayers” andUsers Nonusers Hollowing Out the Middle•  Home schoolers •  Sportsmen and•  Parents women   Libraries, newcomers and•  Seniors •  Teens making connections•  Teens   Image, transparency and effective decisionsLeaders Internal   Fail proof spaces and•  Entrepreneurs •  Friends•  Health and •  Trustees mentoring for entrepreneurs Social Services •  Volunteers   Local agriculture, business•  Recreation•  Schools and economy
  12. 12. Background Research
  13. 13. Reinventing Libraries Workshop  Readiness for change  Every choice has a downside  Simple changes today
  14. 14. Scenario Planning
  15. 15. The Central Question Local Communities A Model for Smarter Other Collaboration Libraries Sustainable Success A Clean Slate PA Forward
  16. 16. Key Factors  Technological change   Fast paced   Increasingly mobile, functional and easy to use   Moving digital divide  eBooks and streaming media   Mainstream publishing will be digital/streaming   Direct to mobile distribution  Aging population   Growing need for assistance with change (e.g. eGov)   Increasingly complex health management issues   Increasingly complex personal finance issues   Increased strain on community social services
  17. 17. Key Factors  Rural economy   Hollowing Out the Middle: stayers   Disenfranchised groups   Workforce development   Entrepreneurship and innovation  Connecter and convener   Families and communities   Social discourse, community challenges
  18. 18. Other Outcomes Public Relations Library Image Open Challenges•  Media and modes: •  Assessment, •  Bye bye Dewey Where are they? accountability and •  No no signs and•  Measuring transparency policies effectiveness •  Bias and •  Online card•  Change and controversial registration traditional users programming •  Nature of the WLA collaboration
  19. 19. Planning for Transformation
  20. 20. Three Day AgendaDay One Day Two  Core values   Community connections  Timeless purpose   Capacity  Hedgehog concept   PA Forward rankings
  21. 21. Three Day AgendaDay Three  Delivery models  Organizational structure  Community factors and service priorities  Stop list
  22. 22. Preliminary ResultsCore Values Hedgehog Concept  Open access   We build connections  Community involvement   People  Consistent quality of   Information service to all   Community  Empowering people   Partners
  23. 23. Next Steps  Polished goals  Implementation timeline  Assessment plan  Board presentation
  24. 24. Workbook for PA Libraries  Documentation of this process, our successes and lessons learned  Reading list  Opinions:   Key factors   Optimal structure for library collaborations  Implementation guidance  Worksheets to use and adapt for your libraries
  25. 25. Doing it all over againLessons Learned Successes   Reinventing Libraries  Never enough time workshop  Logistical support   Recruitment for focus  Face to face meetings groups  Private Google site   Community  Readiness for change participation   More coming!
  26. 26. Thank youMolly RodgersWayne Library Alliance Administratormrodgers@waynelibraries.orgStephen SpohnIndependent Library