When Librarians Dream
Updated: Jun 21, 2022
I rarely remember dreams that I've had. Sometimes, when I first wake up, there is a vague remembrance of some aspect of a dream; when there is, it usually fades quickly. Often, I recall nothing when I awake.
However, I've had some memorable dreams. As a child, I had a few recurring nightmares. The most vivid and relevant dream I've had as an adult is the following:
I'm in our Meyersdale Public Library. I open the door to the utility closet (pictured ) -- and find an entire wing of the library I never saw before. I'm stunned and excited. There's a large room that will be perfect for holding library programs. There's another room, a little smaller, and then nested at the back is a room with a desk, set up like an office but which could also be used for much-needed storage space. In the dream, I'm bewildered. How can this be here without me ever seeing it all the years I've been here? I pull out the library blueprints, which are not helpful. I even start thinking about staffing additions I'll need to make to utilize the new space to the fullest.
Then I wake up. I've never been so sad to wake up and know that something was just a dream.
Yes, folks, you are correct if you deduce that I wish our library were larger. Almost everything we try to do seems to be limited or compromised by lack of space. Apparently I'm not alone in this feeling, and it's not a new concern. I stumbled on a stash of community surveys done about a decade ago, and one of the most common comments was the wish that the library was larger.
When the library was built and opened in 1984-1985, it was more than adequate for library needs. However, libraries have changed over the past few decades. In 1984, who could have foreseen that we'd be housing a bank of public-use computers, along with a large photocopier/printer, a fax machine, and a public-use heavy-duty crosscut paper shredder? Who would have foreseen that libraries would become a place for makerspace centers and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) training programs? No one ever guessed that we'd need storage for STEM project kits for people to borrow, or that we'd wish we could join the ranks of the many libraries who loan all sorts of practical items to their cardholders. We haven't had adequate space for some of these endeavors, though the county library system's STEAM team will be conducting a small robotics and electronics camp here June 27-29. (STEAM is STEM with Arts added.) NOTE: you may register for the robotics camp here: https://cutt.ly/STEAM2022
Since we have the size library we have, we need to be creative. We can't add a room because there is no space to expand, but we can "create room" in a manner of speaking. The county library system has received a "Make Room for Arts & Crafts" grant which is providing us with a "Dream Box" storage unit. It's probably the closest to my dream coming true that I can realistically expect in this building. It came to town in a tractor trailer in a crate like this:
Of course, there was no place for the tractor-trailer to park by the library, so the driver wound up stopping in the Meyersdale Automotive Center parking lot. I'd like to give a shout-out to whoever it was at the garage that kindly put it on their forklift and brought it down to our doorstep!
Unpacked from the crate:
Some assembly required! (We thank Bill Wittmer from the Somerset County Library for doing the hard work!)
The finished product! Now we get to fill it up with craft materials for our programs, like our Summer Quest children's program that starts on July 8.
This will really help to free up storage space in other areas of the library.
"This project is made possible in part by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the Pennsylvania Department of
Education, Office of Commonwealth Libraries"