#2 - Things are easy to find in the library
Developing Success Factors For Illinois public libraries Researching Communities to Prepare for the Future Created by: Mary Wilkins Jordan, [email protected]
1. 1.Introduction Introduction 2. 2.Three ThreeIdeas Ideas 3. 3.Case CaseStudies Studies 4. 4.Practice Practiceand andConclusion Conclusion
Introduction In Developing Success Factors, we look at the attributes that people across Illinois said were most important to them for their library. Things are easy to find in the library may seem basic, but it was the second most popular response in the Researching Communities to Prepare for the Future study. Discussing these attributes within your library helps hone your own skills and keep yourself at peak efficiency.
Three Ideas Signage/ Signage/ Handouts Handouts
Active Active help help
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Signage/Handouts Signage is something easy to overlook in the library. You are there every day, and the signs become part of the scenery. – Have infrequent library visitors do a test run of the building for you every so often; how easy is it for them to find what they need? – Are library signs all different forms of “NO!”? Remember, a library should be looking for ways to say “YES!” to the community, and that starts with your signs!
Photos of real library signs: http://www.flickr.com/groups/librarysignage/pool/
Signs! General information on good signs: http://www.librarysupportstaff.com/libsigns.html http://www.lyponline.com/infocus/0908/case_study_bibliobanners.htm
Results of one sign inventory; try the inventory at your library http://web.nmsu.edu/~ebosman/signage/invnty.shtml
Bilingual patrons? Bilingual signs! http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/projects/bilingualsign/main.html# click on red borders for translation to Spanish
Brochures, Handouts & Flyers Handouts give people things to keep helping them retain information and giving them a very positive view of the library! Browse through these examples of brochures, handouts and flyers for ideas to use at your library. – http://www.sandiego.gov/public-library/catalogdatabases/workshophandouts.shtml – http://www.akronlibrary.org/training/handouts.html – http://library.scottsdaleaz.gov/events/classhandouts.cfm – http://www.coconino.edu/library/handouts.htm – http://www.prescott.edu/Library/handouts.html
“Reference Rovering” Similar to the idea of Managing by Walking Around (MBWA), walking around increases the customer service value to patrons in the library. – http://lists.webjunction.org/wjlists/publib/2007-May/106723.html – http://www.mentorgrouptraining.com/articles/Roving%20Myth%20Busting.pdf – http://www.information-literacy.net/2009/05/management-by-wanderingaround.html
Active help Having regular time in each shift to walk around the library, asking people if they need help accomplishes at least two important goals: – Patrons reluctant to ask for help (a sizable number of them!) are more likely to interact with the staff and ask for needed assistance; – Potential trouble-makers know staff are watching and are less likely to start any trouble in the library.
Walking around backed up by research! If you have not read books by Paco Underhill, you may want to check into them! He is a “retail anthropologist” who studies how to bring in customers. In a library we call those people “patrons” but the ideas is exactly the same – getting them to come take home the stuff we offer! Read more about Paco Underhill’s ideas http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0DTI/is_12_29/ai_83678101/?tag=content;col1
Reshelving Is your library set up with books in Dewey Decimal order? If so – why? – A new trend in libraries is to shelve all materials by subject, as bookstores do. – With libraries going to RFID chips, the exact order books sit on the shelf is no longer as relevant in finding a specific title. – Materials grouped together make more sense for browsing patrons: everything related to cooking is shelved together – books, magazines, DVDs, etc. – Alternatively – better signage to make Dewey clearer to patrons who may be baffled by it!
Gilbert, Arizona Maricopa County’s Perry Branch was the first US library to give up Dewey, shelving by topic. Listen to the their director explain the process in this NPR interview and article: – http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11131877 – http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/0530nodewey0530.html
Think about this idea at your library. What would the patrons like about the change?
Next up: Case Studies A couple of case studies are presented next. These are common issues in the library world, but should inspire some discussion. You can answer these individually, but there may be more value in sharing your ideas with a larger group – your department or with the library as a whole. Even if a situation is presented that is not currently a problem in your library, it is helpful to think through a solution – maybe something different that you are trying now, or something which may help you in the future.
Case Study #1 Your library serves a large geographic area. Lately several people have commented that it is difficult to get to the library on a frequent basis, but they still wish to use library resources for themselves and their families. Does the library have a Web site for the patrons? What kind of information is on your Web site? The Web site is your electronic branch library; are you promoting it as such? What kinds of thing could you put on your site to make it more useful to your patrons?
Case Study #2 Your library will be participating in your community’s Fourth of July festivities, and you are in charge of the library end. You need to have displays of relevant materials, put together web material for the Web site, and create brochures for library newbies who may wander in for a look. What kinds of thing will be in your displays? Where are the displays for maximum visibility? How do you encourage people to come in past the front door? How do you let people know about your electronic materials?
Exercise: What is where now?? Think of five random things that may be in your library, but you do not immediately know where. Start at the front door (outside is even better); pretending as much as possible that you are not familiar with the collection, see how easy it is to find the OPAC or a desk to ask for help. How long did it take you to find all five items, or determine they could not be found? How many different ways did you have to try in order to find the items? Brainstorm ways to make this process easier for patrons.
Conclusion Most of us spend a lot of time in the library – often over a period of decades. It is easy to lose perspective of what a library newbie faces when they try to utilize our resources! Spending time working with patrons and other library staff to figure out ways of working with the community pays off with increased library visibility, support, door counts and circulation numbers!
Training Opportunities WebJunction Illinois has a variety of training courses within the Illinois Course Catalog (il.webjunction.org/catalog). The on-line courses are self-paced for individual use or to foster group discussion. Try these WebJunction Illinois courses: • Merchandising that Works • Keep it Simple: Developing a Marketing Plan • Delivering the Message
Further Resources Why we buy, by Paco Underhill Call of the Mall, by Paco Underhill Great Displays for your Library Step by Step, by Susan Phillips Creating the Customer-Driven Library by Jeannette A. Woodward