Step into a library today, and you’ll see books and periodicals — but also patrons learning to knit, searching for a job on a computer or researching genealogy. Entrepreneurs working in the Maker’s Lab. Parents and preschoolers at story hour, teens learning to code or playing video games. Flexible library storage is key to future-proofing an institution that needs to evolve with the times.
“Libraries are a microcosm of the larger society,” states the American Library Association (ALA) in its 2019 report. Libraries play an “important and unique role” in their communities, providing “education and lifelong learning,” and “a lifeline for some of our nation’s most vulnerable communities.” Yet they are doing so, often, in aging buildings under threat of budget cuts. The White House’s fiscal year 2020 budget proposal, for instance, has called for the elimination of the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
Librarians are civic-minded and want to persist in serving the many different populations that rely on them. But this requires flexibility. With patron needs always evolving, the library needs to invest in storage that can grow and change. Fortunately, there are many adaptable storage options that meet the need for customized solutions that can evolve too.