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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

Making the Most of the Space You Have

Space that's designed to change

IdeaBox - blind date with a book

IdeaBox - patron input

The IdeaBox is in the Oak Park (IL) Public Library. It's designed to change completely on a regular basis.

Above left: Blind date with a Book

Above right: Gathering input from patrons on a specific topic

Right: All surfaces painted with blackboard paint

IdeaBox - blackboard

At the Waltham (MA) Public Library is the Pie Room -- so called because it's a weirdly pie-shaped room that was difficult to use for library functions. They created a space that changes every four months, using inexpensive materials. They've had themes including:

  • In the Jungle
  • Under the Sea
  • On the Farm
  • Around the Town
  • In the Classroom
  • At the Theater

The staff cautions that they had to make a real commitment to keep the space fresh, but it's paid off.

Child with stuffed "farm animals"

Farm scene with cardboard and paper stalls

Jungle with paper scenery and tent

In the Jungle with paper scenery and tent

Jungle with child in wading pool with stuffed hippos

Wading pool with stuffed hippos and snake

Jungle with cardboard and paper tree and tent

Jungle with cardboard and paper tree and tree stump stools

Undersea scene with paper lantern fish

Under the Sea with mylar and paper scenery and paper lantern fish