Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Linebaugh Branch Librarian Carol Ghattas is always looking for ways to improve services and space usage for the community, and two recent events have enabled her to work on these goals. In May of 2018, the offices of the Rutherford County Library System’s director and other administrative and technical services staff were moved into a building at 123 E. College. Then, in August of this year, the new Technology Engagement Center (TEC) was opened at 306 Minerva Drive.

“Both of these brought major changes for Linebaugh,” says Ghattas. “We’ve been in our current facility for 26 years, and as our community has grown, so has our staff and services. In the end, we had no space for our well-attended children’s events or public meeting rooms. The move of the Administrative offices and opening of the TEC have given us new possibilities for growth.”

Working with her staff for over a year on studying needs, building usage and possible layouts, Ghattas began a multi-step process of renovation and change to the building space. With backing from the RCSLS Library Board, the Linebaugh staff has already accomplished a great deal of their year-long project, including:

  • A new media and graphic novel area for adults and teens
  • New flooring in the main entrance of the library
  • Removal of walls on the 1st floor area to open up the space
  • Moving the 2nd floor service desk to better serve patrons coming up stairs
  • Moving the Branch Librarian’s office, as well as other staff services, to the back office area to free up floor space and decrease the size of the front desk
  • Purchase of four mobile display shelving units to enable patrons to quickly pick up available holds or check out new books and media

The next few months will see the final stages of the project put into action, as Ghattas’ overall goal is to provide a better-designated layout of the library. The children’s events area will be moved to the back of the first floor, as adult fiction shelving will move to the second floor. The first floor will then be specifically for children and teens, while the second floor will house public computers and materials for adults (except for the media area on the 1st floor).

“With the opening of the TEC, Linebaugh will no longer be the hub of all the computer classes for the system. While the majority of the classes will now be offered at the TEC, Smyrna, Linebaugh and MGL branches will all continue to have some basic classes. This enables Linebaugh to reduce the footprint of public computers at our location.”

New public computers will be purchased in October, and moved to a new location on the 2nd floor as stacks for adult materials are added to the space currently occupied by the computer lab. On the first floor, teens will have a study area for groups or tutors to use, and Young Adult materials will be in their location. With the changes on the first floor, new paint is needed, and Ghattas hopes to get this done once everything is in place.

“Libraries are not stagnant facilities, says Ghattas, “but must adapt and change to meet the needs in their unique communities. For this reason, we will be painting over the Norris Hall mural in our current children’s area. Mr. Hall’s work has blessed children for twenty-two years, and we will be working to preserve the mural in digital format in the coming weeks. It’s never easy to face change, but I trust the overall goal will be accepted and appreciated by our patrons.”

Ghattas encourages everyone to come in and see the changes being made at the library, and if you don’t have a library card, September is a great time to sign up, as it’s National Library Card Sign Up Month! If you have any questions, Ms. Ghattas is happy to hear from you. You can contact her at cghattas@rclstn.org.