Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces

Hot Springs Library
Hot Springs Library, Smart Spaces participant library

Smart Spaces Continues in 2019!

We are pleased to announce that OCLC has received a supplemental grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services that will allow a second iteration of Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces, led by OCLC’s WebJunction program. A new cohort of 15 small and rural public libraries has been selected from across the US to work with their communities to reimagine and reconfigure their libraries into smart spaces for active learning. Participating libraries will receive guided orientation over a 15-month period, as well as sub-grants to support the creation of their new spaces and services.

What's a smart library space?

Smart library spaces are designed to meet the needs and desires of diverse communities. Smart spaces are where discovery and community intersect, fostering social connection among people of all ages by providing active learning that encourages exploration and play. Participating libraries engaged community members throughout the process of discovering their interests and involving them in design and construction of the physical spaces and delivery of programming for active learning.

Find out how the first cohort of Smart Space libraries made space for active learning. You can do it too!

  • The First Cohort of Smart Space Libraries: The original program led these 15 small and rural public libraries from across the country to reimagine and reconfigure their libraries into smart spaces.
  • Transformation Stories: Each library created space and programming aligned with the unique nature and needs of their community. These stories capture the trajectory of each transformation in pictures and words, showing the process before, during and after implementation of the Smart Spaces process.
  • Smart Space Videos: These brief (1-2 minutes) videos show the highlights of a selection of Smart Space libraries.
  • Making Space for Active Learning Course: This self-paced learning experience will guide you through the process of rethinking and reconfiguring physical space to make room for active learning and work with your community to create new services and programs. Enroll Now!

How can I stay up-to-date on program resources?

New Smart Spaces resources will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and through our Crossroads eNewsletter. Email program manager Betha Gutsche at any time with questions, ideas, or feedback:

The program is made possible by support from OCLC and a National Leadership Grant (project number LG-80-16-0039-16) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Association for Rural and Small Libraries is the implementation partner for the duration of the project; the Project for Public Spaces provided implementation support in the first round.


Most Recently Added

Smart Space Transformation Stories

 News / Last Modified: 06 November 2019

Explore these Smart Space Transformation Stories from libraries who participated in WebJunction's Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces program, which led 15 small and rural public libraries from across the country to reimagine and reconfigure the...

15 Libraries Chosen for Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces Project

 News / Last Modified: 28 October 2019

Fifteen small U.S. public libraries have been selected to participate in the Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces project led by OCLC in partnership with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL). The libraries, chosen from 106 completed ap...

Quick Wins Through Community Discovery

 News / Last Modified: 03 October 2019

When libraries look to expand or revitalize the programs and services that they offer, they often turn to their community for inspiration and ideas. And the best way to learn what the community wants, is to ask, listen and observe! Using a design thi...

Active Learning

 Document / Last Modified: 09 September 2019

Active learning positions learners of all ages as co-creators of knowledge and experience. It is participatory, informal, interest-driven and relevant to real life.

Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces: Participant Overview

 News / Last Modified: 04 September 2019

Are you always thinking about new ways to engage your community with your library's services? A big-picture thinker who can also manage minute details and get people excited about long-term projects? Looking for an opportunity to reinvigorate your li...