Case Study: Libraries Linking People to Books through Local Interaction
The traditional perception of libraries as a place to borrow books and study is beginning to change. Here, we are going to introduce the Ota City Kugahara Library, which, by planning and holding numerous events, is positioning the library as a regional interaction spot. JCS is proud to manage and operate this library as the designated administrator since 2015 and has been promoting events for regional interaction at the library.
Excellent Events with Ota City Volunteers
When holding events at the Kugahara Library, with the emphasis on local interaction, we plan and work with local volunteers. From the variety of wonderful ideas and plans proposed by citizens of all ages, we create opportunities for Ota city residents to have new interactions. For example, one of the most popular events is the 'Kugahara Salon' held every year with volunteers enthusiastically participating in its planning. Every year there is a book recycling market held where older magazines and books such as novels, travel guides, cookbooks, and picture books are distributed for free, and this event has continually been praised by participants. In November 2019, a practical course where participants can practice writing their names with and learn tips for using brush pens was held.
Three Recommendations by Library Director Mr. Morimoto
With one opportunity, people can become interested in completely new fields and broaden their horizons. At the Kugahara Library, a Clinical Art Experience Course—Art Cram School Aiming for the Brain, targeted for high school students and above, was held. For those who think that art is difficult to understand and the threshold is high, we communicated our approach being different from painting schools and that knowledge or experience with painting was unnecessary, and were able to have a wonderful event with many attendees.
Regardless of age, experiencing something new is always exciting. An event on making crafts with uncommon Japanese cypress was held at the Kugahara Library. Attendees thoroughly enjoyed the intricately designed wooden framework coaster- and chopstick-making event. Those items are the perfect symbols of Japanese elegance for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
We ultimately want participants to gain a new sense of awareness and knowledge from their experience. By working closely with volunteers and holding wonderful events, we have been successful in creating the image of the library as a familiar place where people can easily visit, and the number of users has been increasing ever since. As a result of this, more and more books are being lent out, thereby helping the users.
Comments from Participants
I’m over 80 years old and my family told me about this class. I’m glad I found the courage to participate.
I hope that more and more local events like this one will be conducted. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to experience this and interact with others.
I’d like to thank the staff. Were the people involved with planning the event volunteers? I’m busy with my young children, but once they are older, I’d like to help out.
My children really enjoyed this event. I’m looking forward to participating again.
The Key to Gaining Users–Embracing User Ideas
After holding an event and providing an excellent experience to many people, there is the opportunity to showcase skills as a librarian. By successfully connecting to the reference, the library bonds books and the public, and users can recognize again the attraction and joy of books. It’s important not to focus only on items like the usage time and book lending and borrowing, but to implement a plan that utilizes the local area. These activities will increase the number of users and this will lead to a rise in the scale of value created by libraries.
Ota City Kugahara Library
Since its opening in October 1984, it has been a treasured library for readers in the area. It has a large selection of non-Japanese picture books (the Saegusa Collection) and phone books from all over Japan.
From the Author
As people’s lifestyles have changed due to the widespread use of the Internet and social networking sites, ideas on how to make libraries into venues for local interaction were introduced. At JCS, based on our understanding of local characteristics and goals, we operate over 30 public facilities, and we stand ready to help provide excellent service in communities across Japan.