After getting a special press-only sneak preview of Darien’s new $24 million dollar, soon-to-be-certified “Green,” state-of-the-art library yesterday, all I can say is: Oh. My. GAWD.
A Darien, CT blogger and mom visits the new library for press opening day, and notes its user-centered, innovative approaches: (emphasis mine in bold)
….beyond the fact that there are no more “desks” behind which Librarians sit, but rather “consultation tables” and Librarians who float around with tablet laptops dedicated to helping you find what you’re looking for; beyond the fact that practically everything from building materials to geo-thermal heating and cooling and air circulation systems represent the best of eco-friendly engineering; beyond the children’s section that is almost as big as the entire original library and easily accessible on the first floor, including soundproof audio-visual and activity rooms with heated, corkboard flooring as well as a toddler play area, bathrooms with changing tables and a Microsoft Surface, touchscreen coffee table computer for kids to use to doodle and learn about technology …….. beyond all of this, and it’s a LOT, what impressed me most about the new Darien Library is the fact that the books, everywhere, but especially in the children’s room, have been shelved, labelled and organized in a way that makes me feel less like a moron and more empowered to find what I’m looking for on my own.
Now don’t get over excited: our old friend Dewey Decimal is still used to guide the Librarians, but above the code that so many of us suffered to learn in grade school are easy-to-understand labels. Like “KIDS.” or “TRAVEL.” The reason this speaks to me, in addition to the fact that it’s relieving me of the need to curse myself for not paying closer attention to card-cataloging techniques in middle school, is because I feel like the Library, which in my mind used to be a little intimidating and kind of like a disapproving Mother, is reaching out to ME. “Library” is saying to ME that she wants to be like ME and doesn’t expect me to be like her anymore.
But seriously, this new Library has completely re-organized itself to represent me, and meet my needs, and be a place that is accessible and useful to me, my kids, our teens, our parents, our business colleagues, our book groups, our committee meetings, and everyone in our community. And believe it or not, I only just now discovered that their new tagline is “It’s For You!” So if you ask me, they absolutely succeeded in delivering on that expectation.
This is huge. Watch what Darien does closely. I know i will be.
AND – how are you reaching out to local bloggers in your library? This effective type of PR/Marketing doesn’t cost a dime, folks.
AND one more quote: “oh yes, food and drink and tables and socialization ENCOURAGED” Teens, too? 🙂