I was asked recently, to describe some of qualities we are most looking forward to in Camp Verde Community Library’s new building. I am really looking forward to opening day and seeing the community’s reaction as people start to realize the potential uses of the new building designed with such a variety of uses in mind. We have no plans to fill up the 17,000 square foot, two-story interior with shelves full of books and DVDs or leave rooms sitting locked up and unused. We want to fill the place with people and activities that enrich the lives of the citizens of Camp Verde.
The entire building is designed with people and community involvement in mind. Currently, just under 33% of the 11,000 people living in Camp Verde have a Camp Verde Community Library card. Over 300 new cards were issued since July 1, 2014. In that same six month time period (since installing a people counter on the front door) the library has averaged over 1, 400 visitors per week, with 5% subtracted to account for staff traffic. We anticipate an increase with the opening of the new library.
The building will be Wi-Fi enabled throughout, including the outside patios and leisure spaces. When you walk inside the front door of the new library at the end of this year or in early 2016, you will see to your right, a training lab with the technology that allows the library to bring multiple types of free learning opportunities to the community. This room and its adjoining office space will double as an entrepreneurial support network space. Some of the possibilities include:
- Classes created and presented by Library staff, like “The Basics of Using Your Computer” or “How to Get the Most Out of Your Tablet”
- Classes taught by community members who have a penchant for a particular topic, like “The ABCs of Taking Better Photographs” or “Uses of Essential Oils”
- A place where experts from the Regional Economic Development Center at Yavapai College can meet/consult with and provide support to entrepreneurs and small business owners
- A partnership site with ASU’s Office of Entrepreneurship + Innovation to promote local innovation and entrepreneurship
None of these opportunities/possibilities are pipe dreams. All are already in process or are happening in our current facility no matter how inconvenient or awkward it is. The Library is proud to be part of the forward-looking economic development opportunities coming to Camp Verde. There is potential for much, much more.
At the back of the building, the entire east quarter has been setup with community use in mind. There are two meeting spaces, one on the first floor and one on the second floor that can be isolated from the rest of the library to be available when the library is closed. The first floor space includes a fully functioning kitchen with a pass-through window into the meeting room. Both spaces have access to restrooms and audio visual/presentation equipment. We envision using these spaces for a variety of activities but are also excited to see how people in the community decide to use them:
- Children’s programs and hands-on activities, community and/or professional meetings
- Continuing and expanding our partnership with Camp Verde Parks & Recreation to offer free movies on Friday nights and more
- Expanding the Children’s Library’s STEAM Time activities and Family Game Nights
- Hosting Writer’s workshops and special speakers at the Library rather than offsite
- Potential place where Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) classes may be held
- Room for Live-Streaming TED Talks and/or TEDEd Lessons (maybe even a Super Bowl party!)
- Wouldn’t it be something if Camp Verde Community Library becomes the place where Town Council meetings are held!
In addition to so many new and expanded uses of the Library, we are looking forward to serving our patrons with better facilities and more comfortable spaces. Currently, when parents make play dates for their kids at the library, you see them sitting on the floor in the Children’s Library. There is no place they can be that is convenient or comfortable for visiting and interacting with their children. The new library will have a space tucked away in a corner designed just for little kids and their parents/caregivers. A family restroom nearby and access to a fenced outdoor patio right off the Children’s Library are all part of the plan to make the space welcoming, safe and enjoyable.
Another issue we constantly run up against involves requests for a quiet space to study, take a test or gather for a small group meeting. Despite the fact that we opened up another room and every last inch of available space for community use in our current building, we have no real quiet space to offer. The new library is laid out in such a way that noisy, active spaces may be separated from quiet, reflective spaces. There are several quiet study rooms plus a meeting room and a small conference room that will be available for use by those who need a separate place to work or meet. The second floor adult area has the best view of the scenery and most potential for quiet ambiance with places to sit and relax, read or use the Wi-Fi. For those who enjoy being outside, the library will have plenty of outdoor reading spaces with lovely views and plenty of sunshine or shade to suit.
Teens will have their own area to define, hangout in and use. We have experienced the benefit of teen involvement in the library and community over the past year or so. There is much room for growth and scope for the imagination (which we have no lack of) as we move forward with services to teens in Camp Verde. This is another area we have only getting started in.
The Camp Verde Library Endowment will have their used books sale right inside the library and the book sale room will double as a Creator space. A Creator space has potential to enhance learning opportunities and programs from STEAM Time and Geek Talks to Summer Reading and Home Schooling activities.
If you’ve gotten this far and want to learn more details about the thinking behind the design and processes behind how we build the new Camp Verde Community Library join us at the Library for our monthly series of Constructions Talks starting Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 4:30 pm.