Meridian Library District selected for 2018 Future of Libraries Fellowship

For Immediate Release
Fri, 10/12/2018


Miguel Figueroa


Center for the Future of Libraries

American Library Association

Meridian (Idaho) Library District has been selected for the 2018 Future of Libraries Fellowship administered by the ALA's Center for the Future of Libraries.

Meridian Library District (MLD) will use support from the Fellowship to create a project toolkit from their Tiny Library project – a 320 square foot, repurposed shipping container designed to facilitate early learning/literacy for the community’s families. As explained in the project proposal, MLD faces severe space limitations and highly restrictive legislation limiting their ability to build new buildings. The City of Meridian is the fastest-growing city in the state of Idaho and in the top 20 in the nation, but many public agencies struggle to keep up with that growth in a tax-averse area. MLD has begun exploring a creative solution in the form of a Tiny (Children’s) Library in South Meridian to pilot a new approach to delivering library services, creating an informal early learning environment that includes both resources and experiences for young children and their families and situated in a new multi-partner community campus including an elementary school, city park, YMCA, and health clinic. The resulting toolkit will include floorplans, scheduled of first-year programs and events, collections and activities, and evaluation and assessment documents.

The project will be led by Gretchen Caserotti, Library Director at Meridian Library District. Formerly the Assistant Director for Public Services at Darien Library, Caserotti developed a national reputation for innovative, technology-driven projects. She began her career as a Children's Librarian at New York Public Library. While she was the Head of Children’s Services at Darien Library (CT) she was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker for her progressive work with children’s collections and technology programming. Under her leadership, Meridian Library District was named Idaho’s Public Library of the Year in 2014.

In addition to the selected proposal from Meridian Library District, reviewers for the 2018 Future of Libraries Fellowship wish to highlight four proposals that deserve attention for their visions for the future:

  • From Jason Griffey, a proposal for the development and production of a central data repository server for libraries that are interested in the Measure the Future project.
  • From M Ryan Hess, Chris Markman, and Dan Lou of the Palo Alto City Library, a proposal to create and distribute InterPlanetary File System Starter Kits to introduce blockchain technology to libraries.
  • From the Indiana Library Federation, a proposal to work with market research/polling firms to develop messages for use in advocacy in local communities, with a specific focus on audiences in politically conservative areas of the country.
  • From Bert Spaan (, a proposal to explore an open framework for crowdsourcing public data to make it easier for institutions to start new crowdsourcing projects, share data, and use the resulting, enriched data in their own metadata systems or export to external open data repositories.

The Future of Libraries Fellowship provides an individual or group with a stipend of $10,000 to advance new ideas and perspectives for the future of libraries through the creation of a public product – report, white paper, video, resource, tool – that will help library professionals envision the future of library collections, services, spaces, technologies, or partnerships.

The 2018 call for applications received over 40 completed responses, including numerous applications from international participants. Special thanks to the members of the Center for the Future of Libraries Advisory Group for their review of proposals.

The Center for the Future of Libraries works to identify emerging trends relevant to libraries and the communities they serve, promote futuring and innovation techniques to help librarians and library professionals shape their future, and build connections with experts and innovative thinkers to help libraries address emerging issues. The Center is modeled on the successful American Alliance of Museums' Center for the Future of Museums and was made possible by a planning grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services [RE-00-13-0096-13].