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Alison Gowans
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Nov. 2, 2023 – If you’ve noticed some changes at the Downtown Library lately, rest assured they’re all part of a carefully thought-out plan. 

Large print fiction is moving from the second floor to the first floor, making it more accessible for those with mobility concerns, with science fiction is moving upstairs, near the graphic novels. 

Spark kits, once shelved in various sections in the library, will soon be grouped together for better browsing. Multi-lingual books, in languages including Spanish, French, Swahili, and Chinese, will be more prominently displayed so people can more easily find them. 

In the Children’s room, children’s chapter fiction, easy readers, and non-fiction have already shifted so they are easier to navigate. 

These are just a few of the changes, some big, some small, that staff are undertaking for this collection refresh.  

“This is part of the strategic plan – it fits under inclusion,” Materials Supervisor Jill Martinez said. “We were looking at how to make the library more useful and accessible for everybody.” 

Ten years after the library building opened was a good time to take a step back and assess what changes needed to be made, she said. In that time, some parts of the collection have grown, like graphic novels and comic books, while others have shrunk, like DVDs. 

The refresh started with a committee of library staff from different departments, who started meeting in January 2023. They looked at circulation numbers, material turnover and loss rates, and past versus present inventories. To make sure the moves would work logistically, they calculated the sizes of the different collections and measured the shelves. They also completed a staff and volunteer survey. The committee met for about four months before making their recommendations. 

“It was a lot of information gathering,” Martinez said.  

She said some changes seemed obviously needed, while others took more careful consideration. 

“Large print was what everyone knew needed to change,” Martinez said. “It was originally placed on the second story of the building because before the library opened, it was thought people would use the skywalk entrance more, but that didn’t end up being the case.” 

 The new location for the large print books will be on the first floor, close to the entrance. 

“We said, ‘We can do better,’ even though it’s going to be hard to do this,” Martinez said. “This really allowed us to make some big changes. It was the right time to do it.” 

No major collection moves are being made at Ladd Library for now, since the plans for the new Westside Library are underway. 

The actual work of moving the Downtown collection has been a team effort, with volunteers and staff collaborating, including a big push planned during an All Staff day on Nov. 10. The library’s shelvers have taken the lead on much of the work. 

“The shelver team – they're wonderful. When they shift books, they do a lot of thinking and make it look great,” Martinez said. 

Looking for something? Need help navigating our spaces? Ask any staff member and they will assist you.