Reimagining the Library: Relationships Between Library Collections, Space, and Public Services

by | Nov 3, 2016 | 0 comments


In this well-attended session, speakers from the University of California-Irvine (UCI) and Bibliotheek Rotterdam described some successful marketing and communications strategies that their libraries have used to promote the links between the discovery of collections and services and the communities that they serve.

Julia Gelfand

Julia Gelfand

Julia Gelfand, Applied Sciences and Engineering Librarian, UCI, the moderator of the session, introduced it by asking whether the library’s stacks should be saved. Space should be thought of less a function of the library but as a place for a wide variety of activities. Creative buzz is occurring; how can spaces accommodate that?  Then what about discovery and serendipity? We must go to where the people are; discovery should be built in to a more ubiquitous layer. The culture of gaming must also be incorporated. Space planning must accommodate all these activities:

space planning

We are reimagining new relationships with collections and content, value and understanding, creating memories, maturing, transforming, and new forms of literacy.


Here are some questions to ask about the library of the future.

library of the future

Charla Batey

Charla Batey

Charla Batey, Communications and Events Officer at UCI, described communications and events at the library. A newsroom was created for users and colleagues as an information hub. The  hub is filled by librarians.

info hub

Many events are done outside the library because of lack of space in the building. Some marketing is still done using printed materials. Some events are taken to different parts of the campus like the student center, and other marketing events show students where they are, both literally and figuratively. Spaces are shown off — even during renovations. Students’ ideas are also used.


General challenges are: small staff, budgets, fund raising, keeping the quality of communications high.

Top 5 tips:

5 tips

Batey recommended no 5 especially as a good source of ideas from students.

Theo Kemperman

Theo Kemperman

Theo Kemperman followed Batey and described the Rotterdam Public Library. Here is a view of Rotterdam.


It was completely bombed during World War II but is now a very modern city. It is the most diverse city in the Netherlands, and because of the diversity, there are a lot of challenges to working in Rotterdam.

Here is the Rotterdam Public Library

Rotterdam Public Library

Characteristics of the public library:

  • Many services require payment (such as borrowing books), in contrast to many other countries because Dutch libraries are almost all privatized.
  • The city has decided to reduce the number of branches. The goal for 2016-2020 is to have 300 points of presence, even in homes were pickup points etc. can be established.

points of presence

The library houses the biggest collection of works of Erasmus in the world and wanted to make that collection public so an exhibition was created to appeal to a wide range of people.

A setting for young adults was successfully created by holding gaming competitions, monthly workshops on finding jobs, developing skills, etc., and live music.

A refugee center houses 600 people, and a new library branch is being planned for them. Opportunities:



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