The New Frisco Library: By And For The Community
April 4, 2023
FRISCO, TEXAS—Within two days of the Frisco Public Library’s soft and grand openings, over 8,300 guests passed through the new library and returned over 11,000 borrowed items.
It’s been a month since the Frisco Public Library reopened at its new location at 8000 Dallas Parkway, and the community has met it with unwavering enthusiasm. So what has changed in the new library versus the old?
The elephant (or rather, T-rex skeleton) in the room is Rexy, who looms above library patrons of all ages as they pass through the atrium. These new dinosaur installations, including Rexy and multiple of her sister species’ footprints, provide a successful playspace for young children and are part of the new library’s highly recognizable image.
Rexy is the brainchild of Shelley Holley, the director of the Frisco Public Library, who was very pleased to see the incredibly positive reception to Rexy during the library’s grand opening.
“When we knew we were going to have… to move to this old rocket factory, and we knew that the building was going to have this 40 foot tall ceiling in the center, we’re going to have all this open space. So I thought we need something to fill that or to make a presence in it,” Holley explained.
“I thought, you know what? It’s going to be the gateway to the children’s area—what are the most popular subjects that children look at? And dinosaurs were in the top 5.”
Though Rexy’s presence was Holley’s idea, the community had a hand in naming her through an online poll conducted by the library during her assembly. The poll gathered over 6,000 submissions—more than even the total number of votes in the local general election held approximately a month ago.
“We had thousands of names for the dinosaur—and we didn’t have an image or anything out to share yet, just this concept still, to residents—so out of the thousands of submissions, we slowly got it down to the top five, and Rexy is the one that the community [chose],” said Emily Weber, the Digital Services Manager.
Besides adding Rexy and revamping the entire interior of the library, there have been some major housekeeping changes to the organization of the functional catalog.
“We dumped the Dewey Decimal system and decided to go with a word-based system instead of a number-based system,” Holley said.
She continued to elaborate upon the reason for such a drastic change: “Because [the Dewey Decimal system] was developed at the turn of the 20th century, he didn’t anticipate computers, modern finance… [and even] the rest of the world, because he was Eurocentric…And so there’s not enough space to expand without going out to really significant decimal numbers.”
“It does lend to easier searches on the catalog if you’re trying to place a hold or if you’re trying to find your book here,” Weber added.
In addition to the organizational system changes, the library also acquired around 24,000 new titles, bringing its total collection to approximately 280,000 books.
“It’s an exploration for everybody,” Holley remarked.
Despite the increase in both the physical and organizational capacity of the library, there has been no change in the number of library staff members. According to Holley, one of the mandates given to the new library’s construction was to “design a building that wouldn’t require a lot of staff”—so the library’s ability to maintain the collection without hiring new staff is literally by design.
For example, the stacks/shelves are kept low so staff can easily see over them; the mezzanine upstairs extends the entire length of the first floor and therefore overlooks the whole library; and all study rooms are fitted with glass fronts, which can be seen from almost every direction.
These features lend the whole space a very “open” feel, with low-slung chairs laid out in almost every corner and a notable lack of sectioning between the atrium and mezzanine areas. Next to the normal, handrail-fitted staircase to the mezzanine, there are big wooden steps that provide a small climbing space for children (and other similarly enthusiastic patrons.)
“There’s like, so many seating arrangements… and I love the true crime area!” said Centennial High School senior Vimudha Gogada. “It seems very practical, and includes children and [older patrons] too.”
Otherwise, some new additions to the space include new makerspaces, such as the computer lab and 3D printing space, along with the various take-home kits from the previous library. In the lobby space, there’s even a hallway that leads to a small kitchen for culinary lessons. The library plans to run events similarly to the old library as well, ranging from all-ages comedy shows to adult ESL lessons to plant swapping.
They say a library is the “living room” of its community—and thanks to people like Director Holley and Manager Weber, the Frisco Public Library is able to provide just that for its thousands of satisfied patrons.