September 22, 2009

Lessons Learned in the OSLC Library Remodel Project

• Talk to EVERYONE! We placed clipboards in all of the rooms we were considering making changes to and asked people to write down how they used the room or if they knew how another group used the room. We also held a congregational meeting and several meetings with the Church Council seeking input.
• Research EVERYTHING! The internet and the public library are great tools. American with Disabilities Act accessibility requirements, Library Space Planning Guide by the Connecticut State Library, Libraries in Churches List, National Church Library Association, Webjunction (library furnishing recommendations), Google images (search church library for examples) and the professional development collections at public libraries. Some of these are tools for larger public libraries but they can still be applied to small libraries.
• Be considerate of those who designed the original rooms. There are many reasons why they did things the way they did and that information will help you plan any changes you make. Remember they worked just as hard on that design as you are on the new design.
• Understand early that you will not be able to please everyone but be considerate of their concerns.
• Pick a well-rounded team with a variety of skills and abilities. Carpenters and metal shop workers are important to include. The custodians will also be very helpful but remember they have their own normal work to do so don’t expect them to be able to clean up after every step of the project.
• Compare prices and products with library specific catalogs, office supply companies, and then check local sources.
• Be prepared for budget overruns!
• Ask for volunteers early and often.
• Have Fun!