Chattanooga Librarian Director's vision moves library forward
It's been a busy two years for the Chattanooga Public Library since Corinne Hill took over as library director in 2012.
"Our culture is changing so dramatically, so quickly that I want to create a third place for people to go; beyond home beyond work and the library becomes that third place," said Corrine Hill, Chattanooga Public Library Director.
But before Hill took over, "I think the best way to classify it would be it was an under performing library, not really serving the community as well as it could," said Hill. "So what I said I wanted to do was really create a 21st century library."
And that's exactly what Corrine Hill set out to do by making available more electronic information, providing high-speed broadband access and giving the community collaborative space.
"If you want to come and plan a bridal shower with your friends or you're planning a business, if you need a space for a group of people to meet. I want to be able to provide you with that," said Hill. "Because they've given me their money essentially to deliver this service to them and I think they deserve the absolute best service they can get with what they can afford."
Another one of those services? Providing books the community wants to read and not spending tax dollars on what they don't.
"If you want a book and we don't own it, we'll buy it for you," said Hill. "The only part is you give it back and share it with the rest of the community. The community is helping us build this collection, so now it's theirs." Hill also said, "I'm not telling them ‘Oh this is what you should have, this is what you should be reading.' That's not my business. My business is to make sure you have what you need and want."
Her hard work has already started to pay off after being named the 2014 librarian of the year by the Library Journal.
"It's cool to have your work acknowledged by your colleagues," said Hill. "It's validation that you're doing the right thing, because change isn't easy."
But the changes won't stop with hill's vision, but rather continue constantly, to keep up with the vision of the public.
"We have the facilities and the staff that we can change services quickly, because what's popular today is dead tomorrow," said Hill. "And that's where I want to move this library, where it's pivoting and moving based on what the community desires, when they desire it." "That's how you stay relevant, that's how you deliver a service, that's what makes people want to come here," said Hill.
The downtown library isn't the only one seeing changes, Hill says the South Chattanooga branch is being cabled for wireless now and they're starting to focus more on children services, while still serving adults.