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What are you thinking?

Notes from Anythink's director

This issue of SPARK centers around the idea of the library as My place to...(My place to learn how to cook, be an armchair traveler, plan my next vacation, learn how to sew, find books to read with my children, learn more about Winston Churchill, plant a garden, read my favorite poetry...the list is endless for people who are curious.)

From the inception of the idea of Anythink, our team has invented library spaces that belong to you. From the minute you walk in the door, we hope you feel like this is your library. Our team creates displays of marvelous materials, hoping that you feel like you are shopping at a gorgeous open-air market. As you walk through the library, we entice you to pause, to linger before a book and consider taking a few extra things home that you didn’t expect to encounter.

We designed the library to be filled with light so that you will be dazzled by the beauty of our Colorado days, colors and landscape. We organize our collection so you can find things without having to worry about complicated classification systems. We have spaces that are cozy get-aways and spaces that are perfect for meeting your neighbors, playing a game of chess or having a meeting, knitting class or book club.

We have community gardens where you can grow vegetables and community. We have outdoor nature classrooms where our children can spend time exploring the outdoors, doing what children are supposed to do: play.

This is what an experience library is all about. You own the experience, you craft the learning, and we support it through books, programs, staff and artists in residence. As we grow this idea of a library, we are encouraging our community to participate in sharing their skills with each other.

Our awareness campaign, My place to…, is our way of communicating that the library is more, much more than a place to check out books and movies. The library is your learning partner, a place filled with ideas and energy. The library is your place to try out your ideas, your dreams, your plans.

Some of my fondest memories are filled with times spent in libraries. As a children’s librarian, I found some of the most precious books to read with children. Some of my favorites include children’s authors like Lois Ehlert, Vera B. Williams, Eric Carle and Herve Tullet. Some of my favorite children’s chapter books include the classics like A Wrinkle in Time and James and the Giant Peach. Connecting people with books is one of the wonders of working in libraries. My library is a place of literature and ideas, a place that inspires a sense of hope and possibility.

Over the years, I have had the privilege of designing and building libraries. To me, the library is an opportunity to invent a visionary concept, then thoughtfully craft the details to make this concept a reality. Anythink is just one example of a successful public library doing everything we can to be that special space in our community. The public library is my place to invent the future.

Send your questions or feedback to ithink@anythinklibraries.org or post in the comments below.