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

Quick Wins Through Community Discovery

Publish Date: News / 5 September 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...

New Tools for Getting Beyond the Survey to Discover Your Community Needs

Publish Date: News / 11 April 2019

For the cohort of small/rural libraries that participated in WebJunction's Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces project in 2017-18, the most transformational aspect of the process was realizing new ways to meet and collaborate with their communities. ...

New Course: Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces

Publish Date: News / 15 January 2019

Are you ready to imagine the possibilities that can come with an active learning space in your library? WebJunction has you covered! Our IMLS grant-funded project, Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces, and we're excited to announce the new free, onlin...

Transform Your Library with WebJunction

Publish Date: News / 2 January 2019

"The transformation is unbelievable. The whole library used to be dark and not fun."

This is what one patron said about the space transformation at the Glenns Ferry Public Library, in Glenns Ferry, Idaho, that was fueled by a grant t...