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Helping the Reader: Lessons Learned in the Evolution of a Display Oriented Public Library

Self-check, wayfinding, displaying material, BISAC categories all fit together to make a public library easy to use. A narrated PowerPoint presentation prepared for the 2008 PLA Virtual Conference. The narration is only available in the Downloaded version.

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Helping the Reader: Lessons Learned in the Evolution of a Display Oriented Public Library

  1. 1. Helping the Reader Lessons Learned in the Evolution of a Display Oriented Library Andy Barnett McMillan Memorial Library 490 East Grand Ave. Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin [email_address]
  2. 2. Our Situation <ul><li>Budget crunch - Industry layoffs, city-wide cuts on horizon, static population / tax base </li></ul><ul><li>Library - 1970 building </li></ul><ul><li>Advantages – Strong sense of mission, shared system, support of local foundations, library endowment, room to expand internally </li></ul>
  3. 3. Excellence on a Budget <ul><li>Long range plan - community survey, focus groups, staff and board retreats </li></ul><ul><li>Consultation with architect </li></ul><ul><li>Best practices & PLA </li></ul><ul><li>Mantras: </li></ul><ul><li>Leading edge of what had been proven to work </li></ul><ul><li>Adapt not adopt </li></ul>
  4. 4. 2 ½ Strategies <ul><li>Community Commons (three zone library) </li></ul><ul><li>Maximize self-service options as consistent with quality service. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Display oriented library </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Display Oriented Library <ul><li>Implementation will vary depending upon size and type of library. </li></ul><ul><li>Display / merchandise as much as possible </li></ul><ul><li>Genre collections </li></ul><ul><li>Browsing areas not shelving units </li></ul><ul><li>Temporary displays - not </li></ul>
  6. 6. Our Gradual Implementation <ul><li>Display shelving for New Book area </li></ul><ul><li>Genre / subject collections of New Books </li></ul><ul><li>Display shelving for AV </li></ul><ul><li>Additional permanent genre collections </li></ul><ul><li>Creating display areas wherever possible </li></ul><ul><li>We still have stacks (so far) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Benefits to Readers <ul><li>Simplest, easiest, most successful experience – Each reader, their book </li></ul><ul><li>Better service = better browsing </li></ul><ul><li>Displays lead readers to new authors and genres </li></ul><ul><li>New authors lead readers to older titles </li></ul>
  8. 8. Benefits to Library <ul><li>All authors/books get a chance at maximum display - Each book, its reader </li></ul><ul><li>Provides selection / weeding data </li></ul><ul><li>50%+ of displays checked out </li></ul><ul><li>Displays lead readers to stacks </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards patrons who visit library </li></ul>
  9. 9. Lessons Learned <ul><li>Maximize books patron can see at once </li></ul><ul><li>Browsing areas – open, room-like </li></ul><ul><li>Seating and tables in display areas </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of critical mass collections </li></ul><ul><li>Display units don’t belong in aisles </li></ul><ul><li>Stacks - where books go to die </li></ul><ul><li>One aisle = one person (butt brush) </li></ul><ul><li>Never use bottom shelves – anywhere </li></ul>
  10. 10. Lessons Learned (cont.) <ul><li>Weed thoroughly – you can’t market what people don’t want </li></ul><ul><li>Fiction ≠ Non-Fiction </li></ul><ul><li>Magazines a browsing collection </li></ul><ul><li>We are all branch libraries now </li></ul><ul><li>Direction of change > speed of change </li></ul>
  11. 11. Things we did wrong <ul><li>Collections without critical mass </li></ul><ul><li>Collections without definition </li></ul><ul><li>Collections no one wanted </li></ul><ul><li>AV Display Aisles - now six feet wide </li></ul><ul><li>Children’s a tougher nut to crack </li></ul>
  12. 12. Getting started <ul><li>Display shelving – expensive and not always ready for prime time </li></ul><ul><li>Wall units </li></ul><ul><li>End units of stacks – x2 factor </li></ul><ul><li>Cul de sacs, C or L shaped areas </li></ul>
  13. 13. Recommended Reading/Viewing <ul><li>Civic librarianship : renewing the social mission of the public library by Ronald B. McCabe. </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries, community, and technology by Andy Barnett. </li></ul><ul><li>Why we buy : the science of shopping by Paco Underhill. </li></ul><ul><li>The call of the mall by Paco Underhill. </li></ul><ul><li>The art of the long view by Peter Schwartz. </li></ul><ul><li>Inevitable surprises : thinking ahead in a time of turbulence by Peter Schwartz </li></ul><ul><li>Richmond Public Library (B.C.) presentations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Public Library of the Future Today (2004) - </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good to Great (2006) - </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating Excellence (2004) - http:// </li></ul></ul><ul><li>McMillan Memorial Library - </li></ul>
  14. 14. Our Fiction Collections <ul><li>New Fiction Collections </li></ul><ul><li>New Fiction </li></ul><ul><li>New Mysteries </li></ul><ul><li>SF </li></ul><ul><li>Fantasy </li></ul><ul><li>Christian Fiction </li></ul><ul><li>Suspense </li></ul><ul><li>Thriller </li></ul><ul><li>Crime </li></ul><ul><li>Historical Fiction </li></ul><ul><li>Romance </li></ul><ul><li>Fiction Genre Collections </li></ul><ul><li>Mystery </li></ul><ul><li>Science Fiction </li></ul><ul><li>Fantasy </li></ul><ul><li>Christian Fiction </li></ul><ul><li>Classics </li></ul><ul><li>Adult Graphic Novels </li></ul><ul><li>Young Adult </li></ul><ul><li>YA Graphic Novels </li></ul><ul><li>Large Print Fiction, Mystery and Western </li></ul>
  15. 15. New Non-Fiction Collections <ul><li>Hot Topics </li></ul><ul><li>Pop Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Food & Celebrations </li></ul><ul><li>Health & Fitness </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Help & Psychology </li></ul><ul><li>Art & Art Instruction </li></ul><ul><li>Crafts </li></ul><ul><li>Around the House </li></ul><ul><li>Sports & Recreation </li></ul><ul><li>Memoirs & Autobiography </li></ul><ul><li>Biography </li></ul><ul><li>General History </li></ul><ul><li>20 th Century History </li></ul><ul><li>Travel & the World </li></ul><ul><li>Science & Nature </li></ul><ul><li>Religion & Spirituality </li></ul><ul><li>Finance & Business </li></ul>