What is Happening on the Ground Floor of the Library?
Memorial Hall Library recently garnered funding for improvements to the ground floor of the library. These improvements include more seating for patrons, better display of nonfiction materials, electrical work, painting, solar shades, lighting improvements, some new carpeting, and shelving configuration changes, according to Library Director Beth Mazin. Work has now started and expected to be complete by the end of October.
The library is making these changes because, simply, there is a need for more room for people and a better way to display non‐fiction books. This space reorganization will enable the library to meet both those needs. When the addition to the library was designed and built 25 years ago, the ground floor was essentially just a non‐fiction book storage area. This was before the library had the variety of material formats it has now or the large numbers of people visiting the library and staying to study and work.
The library is reconfiguring shelves in order to open up areas for tables and face‐out book displays. Shelving is being removed from some areas, and reinstalled on walls where it wasn’t installed before. Some lower shelving is being added, as are A-frame face‐out book displays, similar to those in the circulation area. The lower shelving will open up the areas in front of windows, improving light, view, and air circulation. The A-frames will allow library staff to highlight new non‐fiction books, as there's not have enough room in the circulation area for new‐nonfiction and we have many non‐fiction readers.
The library will also be removing books during this project, as they do eacy year. Removing books is standard library practice. If the library buys 12,000 items a year, then they have to find room for those 12,000 items and that mean “weeding” items patrons no longer need – duplicate copies, worn items, items with out‐of‐date information, items no longer in demand, etc.
For this project, library staff weeded more items than they do in a usual year. With the advent of the Internet, there is less call for nonfiction books for school projects and less tolerance for dated and unattractive materials.
Since the library's role is to be a popular materials center, not an archive, library staff have used circulation reports to determine what items our patrons want and we have concentrated on keeping those items and removing items that are just sitting on the shelves.
Like most libraries, we have found that having a somewhat smaller but more attractive and relevant collection has increased how many items go out in a year. We expect that his project will be very popular with our patrons, and will both bring more people to the Ground Floor and increase the circulation of non‐fiction books.