Anne Jordan was a contributing editor to GOVERNING.E-mail: email@example.com
There's always something interesting in the montly newsletter I receive from the Urban Libraries Council. An article in the April edition highlights some of the insights gained by 20 U.S. and Canadian library leaders who recently spent 10 days in Singapore, which is currently regarded as the world's library-innovation hot spot.
One idea that caught the attention of Patrick Losinski, director of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, and Anne Bailey, director of branch services for the Toronto Public Library, was the creation of "niche" libraries to serve specific age groups.
In the past, this term has generally been associated with institutions housing "special collections" in fields such as law, science, music or film, or materials focused on a particular period or person. But in 1999, Singapore established a "lifestyle library" in a shopping mall to cater to the needs and interests of young adults between 18 to 35 years old.
"We often try to cram as many services as possible into a branch, regardless of size," Losinski notes. "When planning new libraries, targeted services are a viable option."
Indeed, not far from where I live in Montgomery County, Maryland, is the Noyes Library for Young Children. It's a one-room facility for preschoolers that opened in 1893. I've always found it amusing that the name is pronounced "noise."
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