Building the Library of the Future



"Workforce development is a hot topic today. I’ve noticed that many politicians talk about the importance of preparing America’s labor force for the future, and I’m always a little surprised that they leave public libraries out of these conversations. Maybe it doesn’t make a great soundbite, but the truth is that public libraries have been helping connect people with employment opportunities, build skills and improve job prospects for decades. Ilsley Public Library is no exception."


"A few weeks ago, a young library patron, perhaps five or six years old, asked to speak with me. He knew that a Project Team had been tasked with addressing the library’s facilities issues, and he had a suggestion; he told me quite seriously that the new library should have a secret passage. I assured him that we would do the best we could. Many children think of the library as a magical and exciting place, and I wasn’t surprised by this charming suggestion."



"In 1991, urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg coined the term “third space” to describe the neutral, public places in our lives that are not home (first space) or work/school (second space). Oldenburg argued that these third spaces, such as cafés, main streets, pubs etc., are essential to the social vitality of a community, supporting democracy and promoting equality. Public libraries are the definition of a third space, and community members use Ilsley Library as a third space in myriad ways. In this installment of Building the Library of the Future, I’ll discuss the way tweens and teens use the library as a third space."


"Middlebury’s Ilsley Library offers so many programs it can be difficult to know where to start when describing them. As a general rule, the library strives to provide programs that increase knowledge of a subject; teach a new skill; build community connections; foster literacy and a joy of reading; or provide cultural enrichment, recreation or inspiration. Some programs are designed to have broad appeal, and some are designed to target specific groups (youth versus adult programs, for example). We try to make sure there is something for everyone."

Vermont Room Discussion


"Just about everyone knows that the library offers programs; in fact, after “books,” I think that’s probably what we’re known for best. But the breadth and depth of the programs offered might surprise you, and today I’m going to talk about a relatively recent library program: Books on Sticks."


"With the library reopened, many people have been asking me for status updates. “How are things going over there?” they’ll say. And then, the inevitable observation, “It must be quiet these days.” Well, yes and no. Libraries often reflect, directly and in real time, societal shifts. So while it is true that we aren’t having as many large and raucous gatherings in our Community Meeting Room, other library uses are skyrocketing. Today, I’m writing about an often overlooked use of the library: as a co-working space."