Introducing Jason Johnson, Downtown Branch Manager

At some 120,000 square feet, the Downtown branch is about as big as the five neighborhood branches of the Spokane Public Libraries system combined, and Jason Johnson is looking for new ways to make the most of that footprint.

His most successful innovation since taking over the branch in. February 2016 after 12 years with Spokane County libraries may be the library’s embrace of First Friday, downtown Spokane’s monthly arts and music celebration. The installation of local art and creating space on the Third Floor for a music venue attracted a modest turnout of around 40 last June, but attendance has climbed to more than 200 some nights and Johnson is looking for ways to build on the relationships with artists and their audience.

The ways people use their libraries are changing. The library’s 36 computers are in use almost constantly, and many more patrons use the wi-if connection. 

With meeting rooms in high demand, the library may move all its books to one level to create more space for big and small groups, Johnson says.

But he wants to preserve special services like genealogical research and the Northwest Room’s historical collections.

Johnson says the branch’s staff are being trained to be knowledgable about all resources so they can assist patrons with their questions without having to hand them off to someone elsie.

Spokane voter support of Measure 1 will enable Johnson and other branch leaders to continue innovating so libraries can keep up with the community’s needs. Please approve renewal of the library levy that is on the April 25 ballot.


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