OCLC names 15 public libraries selected for 2019 'Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces' project


DUBLIN, Ohio, 7 March 2019—Fifteen public libraries that serve small U.S. communities 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.

This will be the second cohort to participate, thanks to an award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to expand the 2016 National Leadership Grant project. The project team received 120 applications from 38 states. The selected libraries represent 15 states and serve communities ranging in size from 900 to 15,500 people.

The selected libraries are:

As with the original cohort, participating staff from each library will be guided through the 15-month project designed by OCLC’s WebJunction, in which they will work with their community members to reimagine and reconfigure library space to encourage socially engaging and active learning at the library.

Over the course of nine learning modules, participants will gather online to learn and apply principles of placemaking, community engagement, and human-centered space and service design. After conducting community input, action planning, and prototyping, the libraries will create their learning spaces, using a $5,000 sub-grant toward materials. Several participants from the first library cohort will be supporting this new group with advice and consultation from their own experience with the project.

“We’re grateful to IMLS for their generous support of this tremendous project,” said Sharon Streams, Director of WebJunction, which is part of OCLC Research. “We’re excited that the success of the first 15 libraries has enabled us to expand the project to a total of 30 rural and small libraries in 24 states. Every community and library we’re working with is unique, and we’re looking forward to seeing the stories of transformation unfold for each one.”

Learn more about the project on WebJunction.org, including the inspiring transformation stories from the first Smart Spaces cohort. The WebJunction project team will share updates on the libraries and their exciting new spaces.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Association for Rural & Small Libraries
The Association for Rural & Small Libraries, Inc. is a network of persons throughout the country dedicated to the positive growth and development of small and rural libraries. ARSL believes in the value of rural and small libraries and strives to create resources and services that address national, state and local priorities for libraries situated in rural communities.

About OCLC
OCLC is a nonprofit global library cooperative providing shared technology services, original research and community programs so that libraries can better fuel learning, research and innovation. Through OCLC, member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the most comprehensive global network of data about library collections and services. Libraries gain efficiencies through OCLC's WorldShare, a complete set of library management applications and services built on an open, cloud-based platform. It is through collaboration and sharing of the world’s collected knowledge that libraries can help people find answers they need to solve problems. Together as OCLC, member libraries, staff, and partners make breakthroughs possible.

About WebJunction
As an open learning community, WebJunction provides online resources, programming and learning opportunities that build the knowledge, skills and confidence that library staff need to power relevant, vibrant libraries. A program of OCLC Research, WebJunction designs and delivers transformational programs that connect public library service to community needs such as lifelong learning, health and wellness, and economic success. More than 70 percent of all U.S. public libraries across all 50 states have participated in WebJunction programs and learning since 2003.

OCLC, WorldCat and WorldShare are trademarks and/or service marks of OCLC, Inc. Third-party product, service and business names are trademarks and/or service marks of their respective owners.

Photo: Hot Springs Public Library, after Smart Space transformation. Used with permission.

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.