Scenario B–Books, Books, Books

At the focus groups for the library’s strategic planning process, participants were given two scenarios to get discussion started. These scenarios are not indicative of any plans that the library has, but rather are meant to stimulate discussion about what the community wants in libraries. This is the second of two scenarios:

In this Library, everything is designed around the books, and lots of them. While the library still has other formats like DVD’s, downloadable books, and information databases, this Library is all about the printed word. Customers who visit this Library love books and enjoy reading from a book. This Library has most books any reader could want: best sellers, classics, fiction and non-fiction. Customers of this Library find the books they want. No need to look on or visit a bookstore.

It is very apparent that books are the main focus of this Library. The Library space is designed to emphasize the books. Books are displayed so that customers can easily spot what they want. The books are spaced out in an appealing way with the cover of the book facing outward and many books are grouped by subject. Customers often leave with many more books than those they came in for.

The library staff are experts in books. They are very knowledgeable in new books and can quickly suggest a good read. It is easy to find and ask for help as Library staff are easily identifiable, close by, cheerful, and anxious to serve.

The Library encourages reading on the spot. There is always a comfy chair close by, good lighting, and even a warm cup of coffee. This Library makes you want to linger and start that new book right there and then, before you check it out. If you are not careful, hours could slip by before you realize it.

Desks and quiet areas are also available for those who would like to do research, study, and homework. While not trying to be overbearing about it, this Library is generally quiet as to encourage reading.

This Library has an outstanding collection of children’s literature. The children’s area is colorful with lots of low shelving. The community utilizes this Library as a “the first place you go” when reading to children or teaching children to read. Comfortable reading areas make good places for families to gather with young children. Open spaces allow for story-times and storytelling. This area has been designed so that children who are excited to read don’t disturb customers elsewhere in the Library who desire less volume. Children’s library staff give children extra special treatment as special customers. Parents and caregivers love story-times because they learn good strategies and take home good ideas to teach their children to love books and reading.

Other programs are reading focused including book clubs for teens, adults, and seniors. This reading focus also translates into literacy skills programs and homework assistance.

Customers who use this Library value it for its focus on books, the love of reading, and literacy. At this Library, Reading is Everything!


1. In your opinion, what is likely or desirable in this possible scenario for the library’s future?

2. What is unlikely or undesirable?

3. What is missing that is important to the way the library serves the community in the future?

4. What kinds of impact would this scenario have on things like:

  • Buildings/facilities/operations
  • Renovations of existing libraries
  • Library collections (books, DVDs, magazines, music, etc.)
  • Library services and programs
  • Library staffing
  • Opportunities for volunteers
  • Technology
  • Limited resources (budget)
  • Community partnerships
  • Library policies
  • Community meeting spaces

2 Responses to “Scenario B–Books, Books, Books”

  1. thedonofpages Says:

    People want information. It takes time and money to put information into the form of a book. The book has little value if the information is not in time. The assumption is that the wanted information can be found in book form. As we go into the future, the higher costs of storing information in books means less information will be stored that way. A database can be accessed by thousands worldwide simutaneously, but a book can be read by only a couple of people at once. People will sooner access the information instantly on their weblinker than have to hunt down some book located miles away at some place called a library.

  2. Tim Newman Says:

    Scenario B is intriguing but regardless of which scenario is chosen it is critical that a major downtown presence continues to be part of the Library’s mission as our visitors utilize the library and it is critical to continue to have access to the Library in close proximity to the convention center and downtown hotels.

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