GMCL’s Leadership Team has been discussing re-branding our library for quite some time now. In the past, this facility was known as the Temecula Mellman Library, the Grace Mellman Library, the Old Temecula Library, etc. When I stepped into the role of library manager, I understood that saying or writing The Grace Mellman Community Library takes a bit of time. We decided to go forward with GMCL as our brand, and are talking about using the tagline “the C is for Community.”
This is a first in the series about seeing our branch as a community library.
As I walked through the library, during my regular “how’s it going?” rounds, I was struck by a shift in our patronage. There were no surprises in the kids’ section. The elementary aged children were looking for books, youngsters were playing with puzzles while their older siblings perused the stacks, the moms were perfecting their balancing act of watching both while not hovering, and the staff was helping with readers’ advisory.
I moved over to the adult section and this is where I happened on a significant shift. We have reading carrels in the back of the library, carved into the walls, and tricked out with padded walls and seats in colorful fabric. These niches are generally empty, or utilized by a down-on-their-luck patron who really needs a safe place for a nap. Yesterday I was thrilled to see all three of these spots filled with teens who were either having conversations about books or immersed in reading. I began to look around at all of the carefully designed conversation areas, and my heart was warmed to see parents and students working together, tutors helping middle school students, and seniors relaxing in the easy chairs while catching up on the news.
Why the shift? What was different? The shift was the interaction. So often there are individuals using the computers, individuals looking for books, and individuals pecking away at the search stations. On this occasion, people were interacting with each other in positive ways, learning, sharing, and forming positive relationships. This type of library usage made my day, and I hope it is a trend toward community.
By Jean Lovett
GMCL Branch Manager