SJRLC would like to welcome you to "Trading
Spaces: Reinventing the Library Environment." This project, a unique
collaboration between the South Jersey Regional Library Cooperative, the
New Jersey State Library and the Mount Laurel Library grew from the seed of a very
simple idea: Space matters. Environment matters.
In merchandising the collection, library staff at all points on the
change-oriented and traditional scale can thrive in a library where the
collection and services star. Customers can see the difference when they
walk in the door and they love it!
Our customers have many choices on how they meet needs that have traditionally
been filled by libraries. The Internet and Google allow them to
find information from the comfort of their homes or offices. Borders and
Barnes & Noble offer children's and adult programming in attractive
locations that not only allow, but encourage, consumption of food
and beverage. Amazon
and Barnesandnoble.com let them order inexpensive used books and CDs, delivered
quickly, right to the doorstep.
Libraries are not alone in feeling the effects of this new reality. Email
and online bill payment have resulted in revenue declines for a Post Office
that finds itself in crisis. Add ATMs and direct deposit to the picture,
and it's easy to see why bank branches are also struggling.
Creative solutions are also out there. NPR's Morning Edition reported on a new Bank of America branch in Baltimore that was
designed with open floor space - no offices. All employees provide
customer service on the floor. There is a children's reading area, a large screen
TV, and coffee and snacks for customers. (see
the audio) The branch also serves as a community facility,
offering home buying seminars and financial literacy programming. One
customer, who does online banking and direct deposit yet still visits the
branch comments, "It's nice, it's open. You feel welcome when you come in
here, people are greeting you." Another customer, watching her little girl
read a "Highlights" magazine says, "I like how they have the little books
set out here... It makes me think family." Customers choose to spend time
at the branch, because when they do, they are assured a pleasant experience. We
like to think that the new Mount Laurel Library offers even more creative
Space matters. Environment matters. Service matters. Collection matters.
The customers of the Mount Laurel Library are already expressing their
delight with the many changes brought about by the "Trading Spaces"
project. We hope that the experience of the Mount Laurel Library will
serve as a catalyst for all New Jersey libraries, and that together we
will think about the importance of environment and customer experience and
take the necessary steps to ensure that we are destinations of choice and
centers of our communities.
...return to Trading
Spaces Resources Page