The Old Fashioned Way

Books? Who uses books anymore? Librarians do, that’s who.

One of the great little-known resources for librarians in the commonwealth is the MBLC’s professional collection. We have hundreds of books on just about every conceivable library-related topic. All these items are available via the NOBLE network.

Because of our current construction grant round, we have put together a resource guide with a list of some of the newest books in our collection in the area of library design, construction and maintenance. Each item on the list links directly to the record in NOBLE, to make requesting easy.


Breaking the Rules

A librarian asked about keeping order within the space, sharing that her library board had many rules. Østergård’s answer drew applause: many arbitrary rules and procedures had been thrown out to make things easier for the community to use the building and its resources. Staff gave up trying to put all the chairs back in order every day and let the space ebb/flow with the crowds. Straightening would be done as needed. “Eliminate restrictions,” she said, and introduce some back as necessary.

This quote from Michael Stephen’s column Dream. Explore. Experiment. from Library Journal. He’s talking about a session from PLA last month about Dokk1, the public library in Aarhus, Denmark. If you haven’t read about it, take a look.

[Project leader for Dokk1] Østergård cautioned about asking people not what they want in the library but instead about their dreams and vision, about what a good life would be for them. It is our job to turn those visions into the foundations of the library. Her words resonated: “Great libraries are libraries that dare to experiment together with [their] users.

Library of the Future @ MIT

Callan Bignoli, intrepid MBLC web coordinator, attended an event at MIT & blogged about it HERE. I wish I’d been there.

One of the libraries they talked about was the Fleet Library at RISD in Providence, which I visited earlier this month. It’s a very interesting juxtaposition of historical preservation (a monumental bank building) and modern.


The Four Space Model for library design

Another great post from IFLA: Building new libraries and redesigning existing libraries

(a teaser): “…there is an important shift going on from solely space planning for collections, equipment and associated physical infrastructure to a stronger focus on design for people, community outcomes, experience and innovation. We are seeing a shift from designing buildings with fixed spaces for books – to designing much more flexible spaces that may be used for many different purposes by many different kinds of people at different times or even at the same time.”

–Jakob Guillois Laerkes

And the answer is … Blog AND List

A few weeks ago, I asked our readers if this format was working for them, or if we should go back to the tried and true listserv. It became clear that while the blog is great for posts and links to articles about library planning/design/construction, people wanted grant-related announcements to come directly to their email box.

So we will continue the MPLCP blog for news and information about library buildings, and more business-y stuff will go out on the list. If you’d like to be subscribed to the list, send an email to

The Value of Improving Your Building

Library Journal has published an article about a San Francisco Public Library report documenting the ROI of their 14-year-old Branch Library Improvement Program.

The article is here:

…and the full SFPL report can be downloaded here: Reinvesting and Renewing for the 21st Century: A Community and Economic Benefits Study of San Francisco’s Branch Library Improvement Program

Blog or Something Else?

Hello, Massachusetts library construction fans. We have been publishing this blog for nearly two years — can you believe it? We’ve posted 52 times, which averages out to about one every two weeks.

We’d like to get some feedback on this format. Is it working for you? As we move into the 2016 construction grant round, posts will probably get more frequent. Is a blog the best way to do this? Would you rather go back to an email list? Or what about a newsletter, which combines elements of both?

Please comment on this post, or email me directly at


Got Architects?

If you are planning to apply for the upcoming construction grant round, you should ideally be well into your schematic design. Especially with the holiday season barreling down on us, time is getting tight; if you haven’t yet gone through the bidding process for selecting your architect, please get in touch with Rosemary or me. We may have some tips for getting you on track.

Don’t forget the Resource Guides. Whether you’re a librarian, an OPM or an architect, there’s information that can help.

Construction 2016 Resource Guide for librarians

Construction 2016 Resource Guide for architects and OPMs