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A Small (but Mighty) Makerspace

A young patron uses a hot plate to melt crayons while coloring at the Griswold Public Library.

A makerspace — for anyone who isn’t yet aware — is a collaborative workspace where people have the opportunity to construct or explore just about anything they can imagine.

The goal of a library makerspace is to let patrons learn through hands-on experimentation and from collaboration with others. And yes, that CAN be achieved in a small library. Griswold Public Library, located in a small town of about 1,000 in southwestern Iowa, is proof.

Small-Town Library, Big-Time Author: How a Town of 240 Lucked into a Visit from Elizabeth Berg

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Author Elizabeth Berg hugs a girl at her Meservey Public Library visit

When I started as library director in March 2015, I made a list of programs, fundraisers and events that I wanted to plan at some point. The list was pages long and included things like an outdoor potluck, a dinosaur park and an '80s-themed prom. About halfway down the list I wrote “Elizabeth Berg book signing – LOL.”

That's "LOL" as in "That's hilarious. Why would a bestselling author visit our little library?!” Little did I know that only a few years later, I would be welcoming Elizabeth Berg herself into our tiny town.

Small Library, Big Community: Soup and Sound

Patrons at Slater Public Library share a meal and prepare to listen to entertainment at Soup and Sound

At Slater (Iowa) Public Library, we find that it's usually tough to get adults to attend programs. But we have also seen a few notable exceptions, one of which is our Soup and Sound program. As the name suggests, this consists of serving a meal and providing entertainment to attendees. Soup and Sound is not only popular — it's fun, community-building, and we've been able to cover our program costs with donations.

Bigger on the Inside: Programming for Small Spaces

Drawing from her decade of experience as the director of a small, rural New York library, Hope Decker will offer tips and tricks to help you maximize your library's event space, ranging from design tricks to how to make the space itself seem larger. She will also share innovative program ideas that are perfect for tiny areas. 

Participants of this session will:

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