Skaneateles Library: Bringing the Library to You!

Submitted by Claudia Depkin. 

In January 2015, the Skaneateles Library took a major step outside its walls. That’s when they partnered with the Skaneateles YMCA and Community Center to bring library materials to their shared public. 

In this town of 7,209 in New York’s beautiful Finger Lakes Region, Library Director Nickie Marquis envisioned a way to engage library customers outside the building. “We're in an historic, downtown area with no parking - so getting in and out of the library can be difficult, especially during the busy summer and Christmas seasons. We wanted to make it easier and more convenient for patrons to pick up books, so we decided to try the locker.”

Branded GoLibrary, the locker they selected and paid for primarily with grant funds is the Smartlocker by Bibliotheca. Marquis took the initiative to partner with the YMCA because, she says, “I thought the Y would be the perfect location, so I approached them with the idea. They were very enthusiastic right away and have been great to work with. It was a concern of mine that their staff not be impacted with extra work, and for the most part they haven't been. We put GoLibrary right inside the entrance, so it can be accessed by anyone, regardless of whether they have a YMCA membership.”

In its first year, only 1% of the library’s circulation was through GoLibrary. But twice as many items were returned there as were checked out from there. So far this year’s usage has doubled over what it was this time last year.

This example of sustainable thinking, where the library takes a very proactive role when it comes to meeting the needs of its community, is what the NYLA Sustainability Initiative is all about. By creating that dialogue between community partners and showing the public that it can use the library, even when not in their four walls, the Skaneateles Library is setting the tone for all the interactions to follow. With their recent successful first annual budget vote to taxpayers, they are in an ideal situation to continue their upward trajectory to true sustainability. Contact Nickie Marquis or visit Skaneateles Lirbary's GoLibrary page fore more info.


A patron takes advantage of Skaneatles Lirbary's GoLibrary to borrow material.




The Sustainability Spotlight is a weekly series that highlights community-driven, environmentally sound, and economically responsible programs and projects in libraries and other organizations. You can find more projects in the Sustainability Spotlight Archive or visit NYLA's Sustainability Initiative to learn more about how you can get started with sustainability in your library.