Editor’s note: This article presents ideas for library spaces that may be unworkable during pandemic-related closures, but may inspire creative outreach at a time of of budget and staff constraints.
It is said necessity is the mother of invention. It may also be true that the greatest gift of necessity may be the resulting liberation necessity allows. When things need to get done rapidly, there is little time to fret, over-think, or keep in line with previous conventions. Alternative avenues are explored without the luxury of dwelling on things. Solutions that might have been out of the realm of consideration are now possible.
Such was the case when the Science and Engineering Library became responsible for its exhibits. Prior to 2007, exhibits at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Science and Engineering Library were under the purview of the W.E.B Du Bois Library Exhibits Committee. The Exhibits Committee found, planned, and funded exhibits in the main library, as well as in the branch Science and Engineering Library. Due to a change in committee charge, the Science and Engineering Library found itself maintaining its own exhibits space on a modest budget with limited staff.