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Surgoinsville Library Selected for OCLC’s 2019 ‘Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces’ Project

Surgoinsville, Tennessee, 3 April 2019—Surgoinsville Public Library, a branch of the Hawkins County Library System in Hawkins County, TN was one of Fifteen public libraries that serve small U.S. communities that have been selected to participate in the “Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces” project led by OCLC in partnership with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries.

Library System Director, Yvonne Woytovich, and Branch Manager, Rachel Franklin will be overseeing the 15-month project. “We are honored to represent the state of Tennessee in this nationwide project,” said Franklin. This will be the second cohort to participate, thanks to an award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to expand the 2016 National Leadership Grant project. The project team received 120 applications from 38 states. The selected libraries represent 15 states and serve communities ranging in size from 900 to 15,500 people.

Participating staff from each library will be guided through the project designed by OCLC’s WebJunction, in which they will work with their community members to reimagine and reconfigure library space to encourage socially engaging and active learning at the library. “I’m extremely excited about what we can do to make the Surgoinsville Library an even better resource for our community,” commented Franklin.

Over the course of nine learning modules, participants will gather online to learn and apply principles of placemaking, community engagement, and human-centered space and service design. After conducting community input, action planning, and prototyping, the libraries will create their learning spaces, using a $5,000 sub-grant toward materials. Several participants from the first library cohort will be supporting this new group with advice and consultation from their own experience with the project.

“We’re grateful to IMLS for their generous support of this tremendous project,” said Sharon Streams, Director of WebJunction, which is part of OCLC Research. “We’re excited that the success of the first 15 libraries has enabled us to expand the project to a total of 30 rural and small libraries in 24 states. Every community and library we’re working with is unique, and we’re looking forward to seeing the stories of transformation unfold for each one.”

Learn more about the project on WebJunction.org, including the inspiring transformation stories from the first Smart Spaces cohort. The WebJunction project team will share updates on the libraries and their exciting new spaces.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please call the Surgoinsville Library at 423-345-4805, or email yvonne@hawkinslibraries.org.