Urban Fold

Placemaking and Public Libraries

As public libraries take on more roles in their communities -- including acting as key public spaces -- librarians are adopting "placemaking" into their facility and service planning.

"Libraries are learning to take advantage of the simple fact that they are centrally located in almost every community. In other words, libraries now see success being linked to their role as public places and destinations.

They are taking on a larger civic role--balancing their traditional needs and operations with outreach to the wider community--thereby contributing to the creation of a physical commons that benefits the public as a whole. If the old model of the library was the inward-focused community "reading room," the new one is more like a community "front porch."

Just as libraries are adapting to new circumstances, so too are librarians. Eric Stackhouse, chief librarian at the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, notes that 'librarians have to think about our spaces differently. Before we managed book collections, and today we're doing much more management of community spaces. That's where our role is heading--towards more community development skills.'"

Full Story: Libraries That Matter

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