It’s 2016 and like everything else libraries are changing, but not all thses changes are desired nor appropriate.
Up in Newmarket their library’s CEO thought it was somehow okay to hand out notices to patrons that smell. That didn’t go over nearly as well as he expected.
Here in Aurora our library is far more inviting it even features a living room area for people to congregate. It’s great for lounging in while you’re waiting to meet up, or for the kids to descend on and color in some coloring pages.
It’s less great when it is co-opted for speakers and music concerts to take over the entire open concept library as Adelaide Mayberry addresses in her letter of October 26th
When you’re in the library and one of these “events” turns on it takes you by surprise, causing a distraction to all other library patrons.
As expected the library’s CEO wrote a response in the November 3rd edition. What one reads is a missed opportunity in dialogue with a library patron in favor of spewing a bunch of jargon and “social cohesion” double speak as a reason for this unnecessarily disruptive change.
Where she crosses the line is when she coughs up the excuse:
“The fact is we don’t have an alternate space in which to hold these events”
In 2015, after a needs assessment pointed at the need for more space the library reclaimed the basement area from the Pine Tree Squatters. In addition to this the town surrendered to the library the Lebovic and Magna rooms forfeiting revenue streams for renting out these spaces for events exactly like these.
I fail to see how these two rooms cannot be used for exploring “joyful noise” especially considering there is a physical sound barrier from these alternate spaces to the main library. These rooms are not only easily accessible they are linked by a common area designed with its own seating/tables and even a snack bar.
In fact the Library even admits to using the Magan room for this purpose on their Facebook feed:
It’s disappointing to read the mouthpiece for the library claim the only way in which they could “enliven their work space, attract new faces to the Library and demonstrate their broad mandate to engage the community” is by compromising the noise free atmosphere of their primary open concept space.
There is a time and a place for coffee shop guitar jump ups and wannabe TED talks. Hell, the town throws good money after bad propping up an entire building next door for that kind of programming why would the library compete directly with it while claiming it does not have the appropriate space?
There were other concerns that Mayberry raised that the CEO failed to address:
“If the library wants to reach out to Aurorans, it must make good use of its social media channels. As it stands now, the APL’s Twitter and Facebook accounts boast little more than re-purposing links posted by other outlets, rendering their feeds stagnant. A successful social media presence creates content exclusively for its online platform to generate public interest in using the library’s services.”
Agreed. The library’s social media presence is lame and not engaging. If it has a strategy it needs to share how it measures its efforts and determines success.
I would add to this the library’s recent logo change is a backwards step. It does not speak to the library, the town or any parts of its mission. It is uninspiring and from a design perspective like something a highschool student would draft in the 1990s.
Mayberry also weighed in on the OneBook Aurora event stating “this event series felt forced, frenzied and leaves much to be desired.” Agreed. I bowed out when it became evident that this year’s event wasn’t even about books but pimping out preserves for one of its own board members:
Libraries are indeed changing.
This change should never come at the expense of maintaining its integrity, displacing 25+ year patrons like Mayberry in the process.