Suggest and discuss five ways to maintain libraries
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To begin explaining library user experience, imagine you are a new book that has just arrived at your library. It may have been a scary landing when the box was ripped open and torn apart. But then you start to feel the love. You’re welcomed, often expected, and already in great demand. You are properly accounted for in the ILS, and actions are being made to ensure your survival. Before being carefully deposited in your new home, you are identified and safeguarded. Perhaps you even had the face-out treatment in order to create a nice first impression. Other times, a particular review or recommendation will put you on display. You’re a valuable asset!
Consider yourself a customer, and see yourself as the lens through which he or she experiences your library. The room and furniture look to be from another period, and knowing how the library is structured and classified, as well as how to access all of the services, is like to learning a new language. Finding that bright new book that just came may be excessively tough. What experiences or improvements may be implemented to improve the patron experience?
Suggest and discuss five ways to maintain libraries
1. Think about the first impression your library makes.
Because first impressions are essential, ask the following questions:
What is the initial impression of your library’s guests when they come through the door? Is it friendly? Is it visually appealing? Is it guiding them in the right direction?
Are there any open sight lines in your spaces? Is your collection and other aspects of your library visible?
How soon can customers get orientated to your location and determine the way they should take to achieve their primary destination?
Adding a welcoming directory sign and cleaning your areas are two quick fixes that may greatly enhance people’s initial impressions of your library. Organizing and clutter control titles in your library might provide inspiration for these initiatives.
2. Think about enhancements you can make to your service model.
Self-check equipment is common, as is the practice of self-service. However, service models are evolving; for certain libraries, the construction of genius bars and information commons is gaining traction as one-stop shops for service. Smaller service stations are also common around the library. Regardless of your business model, make it simple for customers to conduct basic transactions and know where to go for assistance. To do this, clearly mark the locations of help desks and services across your library.
3. Create flow in your library space design.
We can’t dispute that customers have strong feelings about books and libraries. However, providing meeting places for the community and giving access to technology are also in great demand. These are natural chances to demonstrate to visitors that your library is much more than just books!
Libraries are continually altering and stretching their premises to suit new user groups and services, and interest and noise level zoning is becoming more popular. Find strategies and resources for performing a library observation from Demco’s Wayfinding series, and learn how Wi-Fi can help you acquire data and insights about your area, to evaluate whether your library is being utilized to its full potential.
4. Rethink your signage.
Adding color and graphics to your signage toolset may significantly enhance user experiences. The following are the main takeaways from the ALA 2016 session Signage in Your Library, Tips for Success:
Use simple wording. It’s been mentioned before, but I think how the presenters said it best: don’t make people in the know, reach out to common folks. Instead of using library language, use terms that most people are acquainted with. For example, instead of “Circulation Desk,” use “Questions?” or “Ask Us.”
People are more likely to react positively to communications that are both friendly and encouraging. “Please enjoy your food and beverages on our patio (or another designated location),” for example, rather than “No food permitted in the library,” or “Please enjoy our garden and help our flowers bloom by leaving them on their stems,” rather than “Don’t pluck the flowers.”
Create a signage hierarchy and a complimentary style for the whole library.
Less is more – signs that add to visual clutter are disliked (see tip #1).
Simple plexi or glass sign holders are always preferable than tape. They not only seem cleaner and more professional, but they also appear deliberate rather than an afterthought.
Choose sign fittings that are basic, adaptable, and simple to adjust as your environment evolves.
5. Create opportunities for discovery.
Discovery is about assisting users in discovering more of your library’s treasures. You broaden people’s views of your library as part of this approach.
Because people identify libraries with books, it is critical that your collection is neatly organized, carefully weeded, and includes signage that assists users in finding what they are searching for. Attractive displays and presentations enable consumers to discover new books and expand their knowledge of various genres and subjects.
Put your collection to use by inserting marketing messages into the stacks when and where it makes sense. This is ideal real space for promoting your collection’s activities, services, and other related areas.
By cross-promoting eResources and formats in your stacks, you may build a connection between your physical library space and your digital services.
Themed merchandising displays and programming, such as Northbrook Public Library’s month-long celebration of the 1980s, may be used to raise awareness of your collection, programming, and services.
6. Develop a plan to tie it all together.
A branding and marketing plan provides a road map for how you want people to interact with your library and how you will engage your community in innovative ways to change old beliefs. Demco’s Wayfinding series includes a reference list, a library branding assessment tool, and Anythink Library’s Visual Merchandising Guidelines.
More than ever, libraries are emphasizing the need of community participation. The Jacksonville Public Library (FL) has created Get to Yes training for all staff members in order to prepare them for a new customer service paradigm. Other libraries are using the Harwood Institute’s Turning Outward strategy. Regardless, a positive library user experience fosters connections, and close relationships foster more involvement. Everyone benefits.
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