Expanding a Community Library
A library should be the heart of a community and offers a great place to learn, have meetings or simply to relax and read a book. However, many smaller communities have to get by with what they can and local councils may not have the funds to maintain, let alone expand, a library. Here are a few ways to quickly, and more affordably, expand a community library:
- Utilise current council- or government-owned buildings.
- Use temporary or portable buildings.
- Make space by selling off or removing old books.
- Use fundraising to help expand.
Utilising Current Buildings
Utilising the current buildings owned by the council is the quickest way to expand a public library. There may be grants available for expanding a library, and you may also be able to apply for the use of government-owned buildings that are now vacant. You might also want to ask local business owners to help with space, even if it is for temporary storage. There are also opportunities to take advantage of the current building that a library occupies. Quite often a library can become clogged with outdated reading material or books that are not read or borrowed anymore. Even a simple rearrangement and updated book shelving may be enough to give you a lot more room.
Using Temporary Buildings
A cheap option to expand the size of a community library is to use demountable buildings or other temporary structures. This is a particularly useful way to keep the library operating if you are considering any long-term building upgrades. This also allows smaller community libraries with spare land to utilise their space properly. Having a relocatable building may not fit as naturally into an existing library as a building extension. However, they are very handy as meeting rooms or for creating a particular centre for your library, such as a study centre, periodicals room or a computer and internet room.
Removing Old Books
If your existing community library is a bit crowded, you may want to kill two birds with one stone by selling off outdated materials to raise some funds as well as clear some space. This should be the first thing that is done before even considering an extension to an existing library – especially if the library is quite old. This is because many older libraries end up with a large store of periodicals and outdated books that are no longer relevant.
Obtaining New Titles
You can also look at digitising some important titles or even offering to lend out electronic books, which would increase the range of your community library dramatically. This can solve many of the space problems but it is not for everyone. If the range of electronic books expands you can run classes on e-readers and even lend them out as well. E-readers are great for older people as you can easily change the text size. So while some technology is not adopted by the elderly, electronic readers are relatively easy to use. Why not implement some new technology with your community-library upgrade?