I found myself nodding in agreement with Schmidt’s idea of libraries being a “multiuse facility” which could include a library, a restaurant, co-working space, and a gym (Schmidt, 2014).

Actually, it’s not such a far-fetched idea.

I’ve worked at a library that shares space with the city’s community center; it has a gym, a basketball court, and for a short time, even a café. Granted, it operates independently from the library and under its own budget; however, both city entities share joint responsibility with some of the community events. It is a great partnership in my view, as we’d get overflow from the community center, customers who would eventually meander their way over to the “library side” and express amazement at all the new products/services that the library provides, such as brand new DVD movie releases (hitting the shelves the same time they’d show up at Redbox). It was not uncommon for us to encounter prior patrons who hadn’t used a library in years, but would eagerly re-sign up.

Professor Stephens notes in his lecture that most people associate libraries primarily with books and that books are the libraries’ brand. Aside from eBooks, eAudiobooks and streaming media, increasingly libraries are offering non-traditional items for checkout: iPads, chrome books (noticing an uptick in bike thefts, my local branch even has bike locks available for checkout). San Jose Public Library offers “Wee-Play” kits for babies and toddlers, which includes learning toys and activities, and an energy saving tool-kit. This library isn’t alone in offering unique items, some libraries offer Pedometers, drills, gardening equipment, museum passes, and telescopes. Some libraries even have American Girl Dolls for check out! (Parents, you can save a bundle here.)

Some libraries are starting to offer streaming services and patrons can download music and movies. (Stephens states that a challenge for libaries is streaming media, so it’s understandable why some are exploring this medium.)

San Jose Public Library also offers Virtual reality events at two of their branches where patrons can play with Oculus Rift gear. And some locations even have 3D printers.

As Stephens points out, some of the more “user-centric” libraries are evolving. I like the forward-thinking ideas expressed by Libraries Transform Campaign, an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA), which echoes some of Stephens’ points:

Libraries transform lives.

Libraries transform communities.

Librarians are passionate advocates for lifelong learning.

Libraries are a smart investment.

Libraries today are less about what they have for people and more about what they do for and with people.

In closing, here is a video clip highlighting San Jose Public Library participating in virtual reality:



Libraries Transform. (n.d.). [Website]. Retrieved from http://www.ilovelibraries.org/librariestransform/about

Mikal, B. (2017, July 14). More than books: 9 unusual things you can borrow from public libraries. The Penny Hoarder [Blog]. Retrieved from https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/life/weird-things-at-the-public-library/

Schmidt, A. (2014). Exploring context: the user experience. Library Journal. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/05/opinion/aaron-schmidt/exploring-context-the-user-experience/#_

Stephens, M. (n.d.). The Hyperlinked Library: Exploring the Model. [Lecture]. Retrieved from https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=2d0f28cc-2337-4aaf-ae88-4f133c509f67

Image credit

Auxier, Jonathan. (2011, April 24). Library of the future. [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://murri2020.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/the-future-of-libraries-part-1/




2 comments on “Beyond Books: reflection post #2”

  1. Hi Lisa,

    I agree that a multiuse facility could work well for some libraries! I’ve worked in a library that has been in the shared complex/building. Different organizations or departments (and their employees) have varying skills, knowledge, and strengths which can make partnering very beneficial. And it’s easy to do when they’re so close! I also think it helps libraries have greater visibility to not only the public, but to employees at other organizations. One of the libraries I worked for was a city library, and it amazed me how many other city staff (that were sometimes in the same ‘department’ as the library) didn’t have a library card or know about the services we offered. It’s possible some of that could be a lack of publicity and outreach, but it’s a two way street!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *