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Wrong Harry Courtright?

Harry R. Courtright

Director and County Librarian

School of information Resources and Library Science

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School of information Resources and Library Science

Background Information

Employment History


Maricopa County Library District

Web References (29 Total References)

Well-Read Lifeâ„¢: Libraries [cached]

The librarians were led by the avuncular Harry R. Courtright, Maricopa County Library District (MCLD) director and county librarian. It was in his office, around a conference table with its 7th-story view of downtown Phoenix that we met.

"We began by listening to our customers," said Courtright.
Customers? Already I was doing a double-take.
"Yes," Courtright smiled, "that's how we refer to the people we serve.
"We decided the library world had a problem," said Courtright.
"It's a matter of professional pride," explained Courtright.
"When we had the chance to fit out the new Perry Branch Library in Gilbert, we decided to try to do it without Dewey, and we wanted to see how far we could rethink the whole library experience," said Courtright.
The building in Gilbert, a suburb of Phoenix, had been designed for a traditional library. Courtright and his cohorts were undeterred.
"We studied retail stores and adopted the way bookstores organize books according to subject areas. And just as retailers know that eye-level merchandise is what customers see and buy most, we put our focus there," said Courtright.
 "It's not about how many books you have, but how desirable they are to customers," said Courtright.
"We have roving librarians who walk around looking for customers who seem confused and ask, 'May I help you with something?' It's a completely different attitude from the shushing librarian of the past," said Courtright.
When Courtright's group outfitted their Dewey-less library, they bought fixtures not from library-supply companies but from retail-supply companies. They made the shelves lower and put more of the books facing out, optimized for browsing, rather than spine out, typical for high-density libraries.
"When we opened we didn't know how customers would react, so we sent extra staff over there on opening day just in case. By lunchtime, we sent them home," said Courtright.
Turns out that customers were quickly comfortable, even if librarians were not.
After their initial success, the MCLD librarians began rolling out the redesign to other branches.
"We were nervous about our Robson Branch, which mainly serves seniors," said Courtright.

Polaris Library Systems - Leadership [cached]

- Harry R. Courtright, Director, Maricopa County Library District, Arizona

Maricopa County Library ... [cached]

Maricopa County Library District manager Harry Courtright proposed reinstating security guards and suggested the town pay for them by closing the Southeast Regional library on Sundays and eliminating a full-time staff position at Perry, according to e-mails obtained by The Republic through the state open records law.

"We recognize that the town does not have additional funds to cover costs," Courtright wrote on May 12 in an e-mail to Community Services Department Director Jim Norman and Assistant Town Manager Marc Skocypec.

Library Information [cached]

Harry R. Courtright 602.652.3030

Director and County Librarian Email Address:

Library Systems & Services, LLC. [cached]

Harry Courtright Director and County Librarian

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