New Course: Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces

WebJunction /
Hot Springs Public Library, before Smart Space transformation.

Are you ready to imagine the possibilities that can come with an active learning space in your library? WebJunction has you covered! Our Institute of Museum and Library Services grant-funded project, Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces, brought transformative outcomes to the fifteen small and rural libraries who participated, and now we have a series of free, online courses available to anyone interested in creating smart library spaces.

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. Libraries creating smart spaces engage with community members throughout the process—to discover their interests, involve them in the design and construction of the physical spaces, and in delivering programming for active learning.

New Courses for Smart Spaces

One of the project deliverables is a series of three self-paced, online courses called Making Space for Active Learning in Your Library, which will guide your library through the process of rethinking and reconfiguring physical space to make room for active learning and to work with your community to create new services and programs.

Two of the courses were released in 2018, and the third course in the series is now ready for learners. Here's more information about each of the three courses:

Course 1. Active Learning and Community Discovery introduces the concepts of active learning and placemaking, and the tools and process for community discovery.

Course 2. From Discovery to Design builds on the results of the community discovery process, adapting design thinking approaches to arrive at an actionable idea and a space ready for transformation.

Course 3. Action Planning and Implementation takes the planning through the steps of making the space and service transformation happen.

This three-course sequence will support the planning and implementation of the Smart Spaces active learning project in your library. It is offered as a guide, not a prescription. You may already have established processes for organizing, managing, and evaluating projects at your library. You may also have preferred project management tools and spreadsheet templates. Use what works best for you.

Glenns Ferry Library after transformation
Hot Springs Public Library, after Smart Space transformation.

Learn More

WebJunction hosted a webinar to highlight ideas for smart spaces and the libraries who participated in the project. More inspiring than an HGTV remodel show, the 'before and after' library space transformations at the Glenns Ferry Public Library in Idaho, and the Hot Springs Public Library in North Carolina, brought about a virtual standing ovation in the webinar.

And check out the Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces project page for a series of transformation stories and videos about the participating libraries which document their journeys and provide inspiration. We look forward to sharing more of the incredible outcomes from the next round of project participants who will begin their local transformations in March 2019.