Monday, March 12, 2012

The Anythink Libraries

Pam Sanderlin-Smith was my favorite speaker at the conference, and I had never heard of her or The Anythink Library System before!

When she started in 2007 the Ridgeview Library District in Colorado was the worst funded library district in the state.  They raised some money, then it became second worst funded.  The district covers 320,000 people and a large area of rural and suburban Denver.  The funding was 3 million a year.  The collections wereover 20 years old, there was very low staffing, and old buildings.

They got bonds passed to build four new libraries and renovate three in the last four years.  Sanderlin-Smith's philosophy is you only get a chance and money to build and remodel once.  These were some of the concepts they came up with:
  • Old ideas: Books and periodicals, shhh, homework and schoolwork, interaction of people and information.
  • New ideas: Community connections, open doors and unlimited imagination, curiosity and empowerment.
  • The spaces needed to be built around these new concepts, not the old ones.
  • Design for people in the space, not the books.
  • They call themselves an experience library, want people to feel welcome and at home.
  • The library system was renamed Anythink.
  • Bookstore like, fireplaces, and LEED certification—all of these were requirements for their library buildings.
  • Information desks are now smaller and called perches.
  • Library assistants are called concierges.
  • There are tree houses in the children’s section.
  • There are zones for children to wander around and touch and play in different areas.
  • They want to make people want to live in the library.
  • It is an indoor/outdoor library.
  • They call their bookmobile Anythink in Motion.
  • Changing the building is easy.  Changing the culture is harder.
  • They had to change the culture of the staff, and rebrand themselves.
  • They believe they are the heart and soul of the community because they help people find the information that creates that spark.
  • The technology staff aren’t hired for skills, but rather personality and spirit of service, and teamwork ethic.  Then they train them.
  • Qualities they want from their employees: understanding compassionate, self starter, strong work ethic, flexible and can change, communicator, problem solver, emotionally mature, continuous learner, innovator, leader, responsible and honest.
  • Wranglers (shelvers)—part product placement, part inventory control, part display technician.
  • Concierge (front line staff)--part customer service, part tech assistance, part product promotion— refluff displays so they look fresh and great.
  • Guide—part customer education, part reference advocate, part event planning.
  • Hospitality exists when you believe the other person is on your side.
  • We’re in a people profession.
  • Doesn’t have a quiet library because people need to collaborate.  Shhh is a four letter word!
  • Got rid of Dewey used BISAC (bookstore standard).  This is also used by Maricopa Co. Public Library.
  • It's like Dewey, but instead of having numbers on the spine you have words.
  • Transitioned in one year while opening branches and renovating.
  • BISAC is a mapping system.

No comments:

Post a Comment