Medfield Library News
The last stop of the Medfield Library’s neighborhood tour has finished. *
Our first stop was to the Waltham Public Library. We learned:
- Breakings Down Barriers – There are so many ways that people self identify. I work in Circulation; I have an MLS; I am a young professional. While these can be sources of pride, they can also create barriers between people. The process of creating conversations between people who all identify differently, can lead to identifying as coworkers, or the Medfield Library staff as a group instead of individual job titles or educational degrees.
- Online is Important – The library used to just be a physical building, but with the advances in technology, the library also has a robust web presence. To use the things we learn from this Readers’ Advisory grant in the best possible way, the online component becomes very important. We can use websites like Pinterest or Goodreads to create virtual library displays and link to book discussion questions, author interviews, or other ways to add value to our library materials.
- Staff Comfort Zones – The Readers’ Advisory grant requires the staff to do an in-depth study of a particular genre. Medfield will be studying Historical Fiction. Personally, I love Historical Fiction, but for some of our staff this will be a big stretch outside the comfort zone of their own reading preferences. Encouraging reading outside of our own niches will expand our horizons so we, as library staff, are better suited to provide excellent service to all patrons.
Our last stop was the new Westwood Public Library. Our visit raised some questions for us:
- With things like self checks, automatic sorting systems, and RFID, how does library staff shift their focus from materials handling to programming and creating professionally curated, value-enhanced collections?
- How does personal image impact your interaction with a librarian?
- What happens when a bookshelf is too high? Or too low?
- How do libraries move beyond the traditional idea of a library as a place where books and other literary materials are kept to more of a “culture house” that provides space for inspiration, learning, meeting and performance.
These visits to see how our neighbor libraries are redesigning traditional library services through federal grants or rebuilding projects has been incredibly valuable. Not only did we get to meet many of our colleagues, but we got to see new ideas in action. Our visits caused us to think about our community, our patrons, our library, and our materials from different perspectives. There are many new concepts and possibilities beginning to take shape for the Medfield Public Library that can only help make our library better and better
*These visits are the cornerstone of a grant Medfield has been awarded through the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Library and Services Technology Act administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.