Related product Public Services

Library Spaces—Lessons Learned


The CARLI Public Services Committee's hope for this space-sharing webpage is that each institution can use the posted videos to discover (without having the burden of cost for physical travel to those institutions) how peer libraries have created “successful spaces”. We invite all institutions who have either created a new space, renovated an existing space, or have just moved around shelves and chairs to re-purpose an area, to participate in this project. Even if a specific space in your library has not been physically changed, but the existing space is being utilized by the students differently than it has in the past, we would like to hear from you! The overall goal for this project is to provide a way for CARLI libraries to simultaneously share and be inspired by what other member libraries have done.

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The best practices that follow intend to act as a guide to ensure high-quality videos which will result in constant successful access by the user.


When creating any video intend for public viewing, it is helpful to consider points of production which will make the video easier to view as well as attractive to the viewer. While the video for this project are more intended to be without a subject, it is not prohibited to use a person as a guide in your video.

Length: Because of storage capacities and uploading times, the video should not exceed 200mb and be no longer than 5 minutes in length. This size ensures that it can be uploaded and viewed without any issues.  

Aspect Ratio/Bit Rate: To ensure quality, playability and dissemination, the videos should be shot at a 512Kps bit rate, using a 4:3 aspect ratio.   

Lighting: Good strong ambient lighting is best for shooting video. Make sure the faces of subjects (if you choose to use them) are smoothly lit and do not have shadows or bright spots. Avoid shooting a subject, or object in front of a light source such as a window or a lamp. Otherwise, the camera will focus on the light source and darken the subject and/or object.

Background Noise: Pay attention to background noise. Noises such as traffic, wind, and machines can distract from the viewer’s ability to hear the subject. Some background noise adds ambience, but too much is distracting.

Rule of Thirds: The Rule of Thirds is important when shooting an interview or someone speaking to the viewer as an expert. When arranging this shot, imagine the screen split vertically into thirds. Place the subject slightly to the right or left of the center and have an appropriate background object occupy the center space.

Continuity of Screen Direction: If you choose to use a subject as a guide in your video, make sure that they are moving across the screen through several scenes, it is important the subject enter, exit or move through the scenes in same direction.

Panning and Zooming: Avoid excessive panning and zooming. Most low-end cameras (especially those on smartphones) do not have smooth zooms, and the viewer feels as if on a roller coaster ride. If a pan is necessary, use a tripod and make the movement very slow and smooth.

Inferior (top)/Superior (bottom) camera angle: Give the appearance of strength or weakness by varying camera heights. Shoot a scene so the camera is looking down on a subject to give the idea of weakness. Shoot up at a subject to give the idea of strength.

Other considerations when producing a successful video:

  • Let the video “roll” for 10 seconds before the action begins.
  • The cameraperson must be quiet when shooting. Being closest to the camera, their sounds will the loudest.
  • Leave the camera running. Sometimes the best footage is not planned.
  • Upload all your produced content before using any editing software

Option 1: Uploading your video to your library's Website or YouTube account

  1. Send the URL used to publicly access the video to .
  2. CARLI staff will review your video and embed it into this Library Spaces webpage.

Option 2: Sending the video file for carli to upload to carli's Youtube account

  1. Record your video and have the file available on your computer.
  2. Send an email to explaining you have a “Library Spaces”  video ready.
  3. CARLI staff will email you an invitation “to collaborate in a folder” in a program called “Box.” Click to Accept the Invitation.
  4. To be able to upload your video, you will need to create a free Box account (or log in with an existing Box account).
  5. Once your account is created, you should see that you have access to the “Video Uploads” folder. Click to open the folder.
  6. To upload your video, click the blue “Upload” button> choose Upload Files. Browse for the video file on your computer, and select it to upload.
  7. Once your video has uploaded, notify CARLI that it is available. You can reply to the email thread created by your initial email to .
  8. CARLI staff will review your video and upload it to this Library Spaces webpage.


Presented as part of the "Library Spaces- Lessons Learned" webinar series on May 9, 2013.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

This video documents our fall 2013 celebration of a summer 2013 renovation of the John M. Flaxman Library at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It includes before and after shots of the library space but, more importantly, it describes our thinking about what should happen in the renovated space.

Prior to the renovation, librarians, faculty and administrators spent two years engaged in intensive self-study and strategic planning, articulating a new role for the library that prioritized teaching and learning over collections storage. This allowed to us rapidly achieve a cost-effective renovation over the course of one summer, with very little interruption of service to our students and faculty.


Presented as part of the "Library Spaces- Lessons Learned" webinar series on April 26, 2013