Tiny Library Toolkit Inspires New Approaches to Library Services

For Immediate Release
Tue, 10/08/2019


Miguel Figueroa

Center for the Future of Libraries

American Library Association


A new Tiny Library Toolkit, developed by the Meridian (Idaho) Library District, shares that library's experience creating a "lighter, quicker, cheaper" means of installing a library service point using an upcycled shipping container. The development of the toolkit was funded by the 2018 Future of Libraries Fellowship from the Center for the Future of Libraries.

Opened in 2018, the Tiny Library is a renovated 300-square-foot shipping container located at The Hill, a multi-partner community campus including an elementary school, city park, YMCA, and health clinic. With limited space, the library made a strategic decision to program the limited space with a focus on informal literacy with resources and experiences for young children and caregivers.

The new Tiny Library Toolkit documents the library’s development of their tiny library with space for teams to document their own plans for new services in new spaces. The toolkit includes information about furnishings, layout, programming, collection development, technology, communications, budgeting, and stakeholder engagement. While not every library will adopt an upcycled shipping container as a new point of service for early literacy, the toolkit helps libraries think in new directions for embedding services, collections, and programming in new spaces throughout their community.

"From ideation to the ribbon-cutting, our Tiny Library was a passion project that brought together staff and stakeholders from across the city," said Gretchen Caserotti, Library Director at Meridian Library District. "Watching the various strengths of our team members rally together as we worked through possible pitfalls and creative solutions was in and of itself a great part of the project. We hope that with this toolkit other communities will be inspired to work through creative solutions for distributing library services across their own cities and towns."

The Tiny Library Toolkit is available as a free pdf download and can be used by libraries to provide inspiration and practical assistance for planning informal programmatic spaces in their communities. It joins the Library Service Design Heuristics Cards as the second funded project from the Center for the Future of Libraries’ Future of Libraries Fellowship Program.

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].