The growing significance of the library as place underscores the importance of access, atmosphere, usability and safety in the library’s physical environment.  As physical collections shift to increased digitization of resources, libraries are creatively seizing opportunities to rethink the use of their physical space.  Facilities are being modified to reflect and serve the learning, collaboration and creation needs of community residents.  

Last updated: July 14, 2014

Competency:  Creates a welcoming and user-friendly physical environment that encourages all community members to use library services

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands the impact of the physical elements in the library on user satisfaction and emotional response
  • Understands space planning issues, including the application of  accessibility requirements to the physical space as they relate to the building, furnishings and equipment  
  • Works with staff to remove barriers to service and create spaces that work for a variety of library uses; provides users with comfortable paths and clear signage to navigate the building and services
  • Monitors the use of facilities and makes changes to improve the user’s experience.


Competency:  Plans library spaces that facilitate community engagement and collaboration

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:  

  • Incorporates principles of public space and fosters community gathering, collaboration and content creation in and outside the library
  • Designs flexible and multi-use spaces to accommodate a variety of programs and services
  • Provides for the technology and other materials required to aid content creation and collaboration 
  • Plans exhibits, displays and activities that encourage people to interact with one another
  • Engages the community in space planning and design processes.   


Competency:  Creates and maintains a healthy and safe environment for library users and staff

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands the scope of building operations and addresses maintenance issues with pro-active inspections and a schedule of upkeep measures
  • Complies with building codes, fire safety regulations, and any other legislative requirements
  • Addresses safety issues through appropriate maintenance and adequate information provided to staff in compliance with health and safety legislation
  • Recognizes an unsafe situation when it arises and takes action to remedy it
  • Continuously evaluates operational practises to increase efficiency, minimise waste and comply with environmental guidelines; works to ensure library operations respect, protect and sustain the natural environment.   


Competency:  Builds successful physical spaces

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands emerging trends in library design
  • Plans for new or updated facilities to meet current and future community needs by balancing people space with collections and technology
  • Understands the facilities needs assessment  process including space requirements
  • Builds and effectively communicates the case for the library’s needs to the board, municipality, building committee, media, community leaders and the public
  • Understands the roles and responsibilities of the CEO, board and architect in the design and construction or renovation of a library
  • Plays a leadership role in ensuring the library gets a facility that meets and exceeds its space requirements and enables it to be a successful library as place.

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