Karla Trout on Remarkable Innovation & the Value Libraries Still Bring Today | Episode 4 | Agati Video Podcast

Welcome back to the Agati Video Podcast, a space where Joe Agati, COO & Director of Design here at Agati Furniture, hosts conversations with designers, architects, and difference-makers to bring inspiration and education to your work.

“Flexibility and adaptability are paramount. They’ve always been.” – Karla Trout

For this episode, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Karla Trout, Executive Director of the Lancaster County Library System in Pennsylvania, where she helps support 17 libraries. She describes her role as an umbrella “under rather than over” member libraries where she and her team are able to be a supporter of their direction and initiatives.

Karla has a unique journey that brought her into the library world. Despite not growing up reading or being read to often, she found a love for the value libraries bring to a community. In this conversation, we talk about what it’s been like to lead in a library over the past year and a half, opening a library during the middle of the pandemic, reimagining spaces moving forward, library advocacy, the importance of giving yourself grace, and so much more. I loved this conversation, and I believe it will be a support to you as well!



  • “Collectively, the library community needs a big vacation.”

  • “Libraries are such an integral part of the fabric of a community.”

  • “If you ask anyone, they will tell you they love the library. But that doesn’t always translate to funding. And it doesn’t always translate to local government support or higher levels of government support.”

  • “I’ve stopped telling people I work at the library. I tell them I connect people to opportunities that enrich their lives.”

  • “Flexibility and adaptability are paramount. They’ve always been.”

Our Key Takeaways:

1) Libraries are as important as they’ve ever been. They are a hub for truth. A hub for personal connection. A hub for community support. And a hub for innovation. As Karla says, “Libraries are such an integral part of the fabric of a community.” With this in mind, it’s so important for us to continue to advocate for the future of our libraries.

2) Give yourself grace. love this encouragement from Karla to close our conversation. You have been innovative, you’ve worked tirelessly, and you have accomplished so much. Be sure to take time to reflect on the last year and a half, and just give yourself grace for what you were able to accomplish during such a difficult time.

3) We have an opportunity to actually reimagine what libraries are moving forward. “Flexibility and adaptability are paramount. They’ve always been.” Karla shares a lot of great ideas for reimagining spaces, allowing flexibility, adjusting airflow, helping people feel comfortable, and more. As we’re moving forward, we get to start at a foundational level we haven’t had the opportunity to in a long time.

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