Reflections on the ‘”Shhh…” Library’

A month into my new duties as branch manager at Drexel seems to be an opportune time to pause and reflect on “the library experience.” When I think back to my youth and I admit, I frequented libraries, well… infrequently; my experience seems to be colored by the “shhh…” factor. Libraries were a place inhabited by dour, gray ladies that hovered in the stacks looking for hapless patrons that spoke above a whisper. In other words the ultimate Hollywood stereotype of a librarian complete with glasses on a lanyard around the neck (ok, I DO wear glasses – no lanyard, yet). Silent as a tomb took on new meaning in these hallowed halls and books were considered paramount.

I contrast that with the experience we try to create at the Drexel branch. Drexel is a small town of right around 1,000 with the library cozily situated between the school and grocery store. We really aren’t close to anything; both Louisburg and Harrisonville are a good 35 to 40 minutes away (if you regard the posted speed limits). Our branch is truly a community library. On any given day we see great-grandparents to infants sometimes at the same time. We want every patron to feel that the library is a welcoming place. We strive to greet everyone and help connect them to the information they’ve come to find. Our library is a place of patrons using computers, teens playing board games, school kids drawing on the white board, and preschoolers listening to books. “Shh…” usually isn’t in our vocabulary.  Our library is a safe place to go and just “hang out” for awhile. Stop by sometime and experience your library, whispers optional.

– Deb Bova, Drexel Branch Manager