To Display or Not Display

Warning: I’m going to go on a lengthy-for-me philosophical post in terms of the motivation for the displays that we do at our libraries.  This is unusual for me, but thought it worthy enough to bring up here – and thought that others might want to think about this and/or share their thoughts. It began as an aside in my Genre Dating Game post, but decided it had become long enough that it deserved its very own post.

The other day an awesome librarian on Twitter posed the question of who was doing a “blind date with a book” display this year.  His concern was that he felt it had been “overdone.”  I get his question, but it gave me pause and took me down a different path.  I almost felt like it was a question of is it more important to impress other librarians online with new/creative displays than share something fun with your community?  “Blind date with a book” has indeed been all over the place in the library world, but how many patrons in your community have experienced this novel idea? (bad pun intended) From what I can tell online, these displays generally get a good response – so why not do it if you haven’t done it before?  If you did it before and you had a wonderful community response, then why not do it again? Conversely, should you begrudgingly create a display that doesn’t inspire you just because it’s popular in other libraries?

This simple interaction on Twitter really made me think about my motivations on why I create displays and then post them to my blog.  Have I shunned display ideas because they were popular?  I mean, it’s my typical knee-jerk reaction to distrust or question popular things.  In general I enjoy going against the grain.  So I really had to step back and contemplate what I do and why – and I’m very grateful to that librarian for giving me something upon which I should reflect.

Hafukiti snuggled under a floral comforter. My calico kitty looks thoughtful and pretty dang adorable (because he is). He really doesn't care about the topic of this conversation. He only cares about two words: "kitty treats."

I think that overall I use my blog to share creative ideas with a creative community.  Do I enjoy getting a positive response to something new I created?  Heck yeah!  Do I enjoy sharing the sources of others’ ideas that I’ve tried out at our library?  Double-heck yeah!!  My hope is that through this online sharing (of both the old and new), our communities will benefit from the energy and great ideas that are generated.  Furthermore, I hope that I can help save a librarian out there some time when creating a display by posting signs and other printables for him/her to use.  It’s also my personal taste that I prefer not to repeat myself in terms of displays/themes, but if something we did at my library had a profound response, then you bet your sweet bippy I’d do it again the next year.

Do I think that this is the most important issue facing a constantly-embattled public library world?  Heck no.  But I think that there’s a lot of creative-type people in libraryland who get a huge sense of pride and accomplishment when they create a pleasing and popular display.  I’d love to hear from any of you out there if you have thoughts about this.  Am I overthinking this?  Do you find yourself inspired or not-so-much when you see a really popular display idea?  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments if you’d like.  I just thought this was something I’ve been thinking about that others might want to think about too.

2 thoughts on “To Display or Not Display

  1. This is interesting. I get lots of ideas from library blogs and pinterest and often find that what seems a very popular idea has never actually been used in my local libraries. So I’m lucky in that I often get a good response to some not very original displays! My sister, who lives 100 miles away tells me about what her local library does and that’s very helpful too. I would love to come up with more original ideas myself but I love being inspired (and maybe adapting) what other more creative types have posted online!

    • Thank you so much for sharing! I’m very pro-sharing and trying out things – so I was a bit taken aback when someone felt that a display idea was “overdone.” I also think the more ideas you see, then the more likely you will have an original idea or unique take on someone else’s idea.

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