Rochester’s Central Library finds itself at a crossroads. The library has been studying how to move forward in the digital age. The end result may be a consolidation of space and a very different experience for users.
Rundel Library opened in 1936. The Bausch and Lomb addition was added in the mid-90s, right before Google allowed people to carry around libraries in their pockets. Because of the different needs of patrons and funding issues, more than 71 full and part-time jobs have been axed since 1999. The library operates at the minimum required by state law – 55 hours a week.
The city has put out a request for proposals for a consultant to develop a Master Plan for space needs at the library. Here’s what is says:
The plan should allow for improved facility efficiency and use, desired enhancements to patron services as well as consolidation of public service access and staffing points throughout the building. Central Library facilities shall support the shift from a collection-based to a learning-based library.
Over the past year and a half, the library has been studying on its own how to best use space and resources. There’s an extensive website with notes on the progress. Here’s an excerpt from what the library discovered:
“The Boards will need to consider whether Central will shift from acting primarily as a reference and research library and move towards developing a more popular and less specialized collection, or develop a hybrid of the two types of services.
…while the Central Children’s Center is often the least used area of the library on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour basis, it is the department that draws the largest crowds for special events and elicits the greatest emotional response from and personal connection to patrons.”
The library has also studied customer service issues, including clunky computers, lack of enforcement of computer time, the large numbers of homeless people who use the bathrooms and parking.
The library is still an incredible resource used by many people. It’s a major hub for people needing Internet access. But it may not need the two large buildings it currently occupies. This month, city council will consider a proposal to move the Bureau of Youth Services and the Office of Employment Opportunities into the library. It could be a sign of things to come.
Links of the Day:
– This is disastrous, if true. The Wall Street Journal reports bids for Kodak’s patents are coming in around $500 million, far less than the company needs to survive.
– The Strathallan is undergoing a major overhaul. There will be a pool, high-end restaurant and rooftop space.
– Wegmans and the Rochester City School District are pretty cozy, the Democrat and Chronicle reports. That could provide another clue about the hiring of Patty Malgieri as the superintendent’s Chief of Staff. She had been head of Wegmans-funded Hillside Work Scholarship Connection.
– Destiny USA isn’t much of a destiny, retail experts find. There are vacant stores and stores you can find elsewhere.