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Studio Rhode: Space


Put Wheels On It

Create a space that allows for a dynamic flow, fits a variety of flexible uses, and supports spontaneous change. Wheels are an incredibly simple yet highly impactful way to create such a space. Flexible, mobile furniture and storage allowed several of our libraries to transform underutilized spaces into true multi-purpose spaces, without losing any of the original function of the space. Central Falls’ Teen Space on Wheels is a great example of how to improve the use of limited space with a flexible, mobile solution.

Remodel or Redesign an Existing Space

Sometimes, having a dedicated space can help define and enhance programming. The Westerly Public Library has more space, rather than less, when compared with the average library. It may sound like a dream, but that also meant that some spaces were poorly defined and underutilized. Working with a designer and bringing together all their new resources into a dedicated maker area transformed an overlooked corner of the library from a very basic makerspace into The Boiler Room, a well-outfitted cohesive space for digital learning and making, in which the library has been able to host a variety of traditional and technology-enabled arts and crafts-themed programs.

Libraries Are More than Buildings

Reimagine what you consider “your space” when contemplating your library. Look outside the walls to the grounds and surrounding areas, as the Greenville Library did when implementing their community garden. Consider utilizing sidewalks, lawns, and atria. After considering your library grounds, look beyond that to your community and imagine what can be possible when library programs and services can happen anywhere. Woonsocket Library traveled out into their community to gather oral histories for their project, and as a result talked with hundreds of community members that were not regular library users. Consider Staffing Needs for New Spaces Expanding the library space can be an exciting idea but with new staffing requirements, it may not be feasible. Central Falls, Woonsocket and Greenville were all excited to transform a previously underused room, head out into the community and use their outdoor space, respectively, but each found they lacked the staffing to adequately support this new work. Plan for changes in staffing and consider expanding opportunities for volunteers and interns.