Lake Oswego Library renovations turn page on shelving system
The Lake Oswego Public Library is receiving a much-needed facelift.
Beginning this week and continuing through Jan. 25, the library will undergo major renovations that will include new carpeting as
well as new shelving. The entire library will remain open, though, with only a portion of the main floor inaccessible.
The shelves, many of which were installed by volunteers when the building first opened in 1983, have deteriorated beyond reasonable maintenance, according to Library Director Melissa Kelly. But the new shelving will do more than just improve safety for library users. It will also give the staff time to shift some of the library's adult fiction collection around, Kelly said, in order to make it easier for patrons to find the book they want to read.
"The overall layout of where the stacks sit on the floor will remain the same," Kelly said, "but we're using the opportunity to make a change we've been wanting to make for quite a while, which is unifying the fiction collection."
When the work is done, she said, fiction genres will no longer be isolated; the books will simply be shelved by author, A to Z.
"Librarians are recommending this change based on many years of experience helping people use the library," Kelly said, "and seeing and hearing from frustrated citizens who cannot easily navigate the stacks to find what they are looking for."
According to Kelly, a majority of the library's users go directly to the shelves to look for the author of the book they want. The fact that genre collections are isolated is an issue for many users, she said, because they'd have to know to look in multiple subsections to find a particular book.
Unifying the entire fiction section will eliminate that guesswork, Kelly said.
"There are some people that like just going to the mystery or sci-fi section, so we recognize this change won't be what everyone wants. There's not a model that works for everyone, but we think this will help the majority of people," she said. "We are going to keep genre labels so people who just like mystery will still be able to pick those out because the colors are really bright."
Kelly also hopes that the rearrangement will allow library users to stumble upon works by their favorite authors that they might not have known about because they aren't within the writer's typical genre. And she believes that unifying the adult fiction section will also benefit life-long learners.
"As our children move from children's fiction to YA fiction to adult fiction," she said, "they will recognize the same pattern of organization
and be more successful in continuing to use the library's resources throughout life."
Meanwhile, the new carpeting will be the same as the floor covering that was installed in both the work room and foyer during a 2017 renovation, Kelly said; it will now extend throughout the entire main floor. Overall, she said, the changes will allow the library to become an even friendlier place than it already is.
"I think it will make the space more inviting," Kelly said. "The shelves will be white metal, and it will feel more spacious because you'll be able to see through to create a more airy, bright feeling to the space."