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The Courage to Design

So just how brave are you? Brave enough to design your own Library? Brave enough to discover if you have what it takes? I'm here to tell you that you do! This post is going to be a little different from my typical informational blog posts. Usually I give you tips and tricks of the trade or cover a specific topic that I hope you find interesting and relevant to your field of expertise. But this week I want to draw you just a bit out of your comfort zone to discuss the idea of designing your own Library. Last week I was reading the article from the School Library Journal on their School Librarians of the Year for 2021. I was reading over Diane Mokuau's tribute (Multitasking in Molokai) and was intrigued to discover that she saw a great design need in her Library and decided to just tackle it head on. Here's what the article says: "In 2002, she took over the high school’s 10,800-square-foot library. Drawing inspiration from an online course, she remade the space, creating quiet and social zones . . . She created a makerspace and packed it with flip tables and exercise ball chairs". (The article can be found here: )And now I need to meet this fantastic lady! What she has done shows one of my favorite qualities in a person. She saw a need and figured out how to fill it. That simple. She did it with a little training and so can you.


Every time we had big design decisions to make, one of my favorite Library clients would say, "I'm not the designer but . . ." and she would always follow that with her opinion on whatever challenge we were facing in that moment. Want the truth? She DID know what she was doing and her opinions were always good ones. She just didn't have the confidence to make the final call without my encouragement. Everyone has opinions, you just may worry that others won't see your vision like you do. Or you find that since you depend on funds coming from other sources, you're not sure if they will approve your requests and ideas. But confidence and know-how are the name of the game here and if you set your mind to it, you can achieve the look you desire and the changes you know you need. After all, who knows better than the person who lives and functions in your building each and every day?!


What impresses me most about this portion of the article about Diane Mokuau is that she not only knew she needed to make changes, but she gathered her knowledge through an online course. She didn't wait to see if and when they could come up with the funds to hire a full-service design team to come in and help her make changes. She didn't sit around waiting to be the next Library on the state-funded capital assistance list (assuming she even had access to that to begin with). She did the research, came up with some good ideas of her own and combined them with her new-found skills from her online learning course and got the job done. Initiative, passion and good common sense. I LOVE it!!


So where do you find these online design courses that are going to help you design your space like a pro and save you and your financial backer tons of money in the process? I'm SO glad you asked! I am currently in the process of rolling out a detailed online design course that will do just this. I'm actually working with our local public Library officials from the state to help get the word out about my new course launch. It's not available just yet, but for now I'm working hard to get Library staff connected so when it's ready to officially launch out into cyberspace, you will all be fully aware of it so you can gain access to it on the ground floor. In order to do that, I would like to direct you to a free download I've put together to get your creative juices flowing in the meantime called my Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Library on Little to NO Budget. This was designed with budget-minded Library staff in mind to help you see how you could make changes while you're in the waiting phase of design. Plus I urge you to join my DIY Library Design Facebook group and ask me questions. I would LOVE to help in any way that I can. And if you join, you can ask me anything from what kind of lighting is best to how do I spruce up my children's reading area, and I WILL answer all of your questions myself. You can join that here DIY Library Design Facebook Group or by clicking the pretty green box above in the text.


Let me give you a quick crunch of the numbers to help you get the full idea of the kind of money you can save doing things yourself. A good Interior Designer knows their worth and charges accordingly. There's a lot that goes into a full design. In a typical city, you can see anywhere from $120/hour to $300/hour. And sometimes they charge per square foot. So if you're looking at a 20,000 square foot Library, at around $2.00/square foot (assuming that's the local going rate), you're looking at roughly a $40,000 design fee. This fee can be much higher in larger, busier cities. So consider that little nugget when deciding if you have the courage to branch out on your own and learn to do it yourself!


I know there are many of you that think you couldn't possibly learn how to design your own Library. But I promise you that with this online design course launch coming in the next month or two, YOU CAN! If you have a project coming up, no matter how small or large, this course will teach you how to do what I do for my clients from start to finish. And it will give you ALL the tools you need as well as the courage to take the leap and become your favorite designer. I will hold your hand every step of the way and you will learn just how capable you really are. As the open date for the course draws closer, I'll give you more information in my blog posts, like what all it costs, how it works and where you can sign up for the pre-launch webinar. So download my free tips on the 10 Ways to Improve Your Library on Little to NO Budget to stay connected or join my DIY Library Design group. Both will give you a quicker in for all the upcoming information. Have a wonderful week!

Looking for ways to improve your Library on little to NO Budget?! Follow me here to learn my TOP 10 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR LIBRARY ON LITTLE TO NO BUDGET


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