or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk



Bookstores v. Libraries

   February 8th, 2007

MacKay Branch of Chelmsford Public LibraryOne of the many email newsletters I mysteriously get is called INFOcus. Their Jan 2007 issue contained a special report, comparing libraries to bookstores. It reminds me of class projects from library school, but it is still interesting.

It's actually especially interesting to me right now, as my library is currently in the planning stages of remodeling our branch library. The branch, called the MacKay Library, is in an old house, and the layout is anything but ideal for a library. But its setting, in a well-established neighborhood, means it is well-used by the people in the area, and is an ideal friendly neighborhood library.

A lot of ideas were discussed while planning how it should be remodeled. One of them, which I found intriguing, was to model this branch like a bookstore - make it welcoming and warm, with as many face-out shelves as possible, and shelving only new and popular titles.

MacKay is a great place to try such a concept, because it doesn't need to house a complete library collection. Anything that doesn't fit in the branch can be housed in the main library, so patrons won't be missing anything. Planning has just begun, but I hope we're able to take advantage of this opportunity and make a new kind of library.
More on this as the remodel develops.

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