Surprise!

It wasn’t until very recently that I had a revelation:

When a patron is in our library and discovers something neat like our Summer Reading Program Booklets, and they’re all like, “Wow! I had no idea!” and I’m all Beamy McBeamface and like, “I know! Isn’t it great?!”

That’s just wrong.

It took me taking a step back and observing just the facts and I realized:

  1. No one should be surprised at how awesome we are.
  2. No one should be surprised at the great resources we have.
  3. No one should feel silly for not knowing something.
  4. For everyone who is pleasantly surprised about something, there could be countless people who may never realize something about us unless we share it.

So I’ve been looking back to times where people have been surprised at something that we do. Then we need to figure out how to share that thing we do.

That way, we have knowledgeable and excited people coming through our doors.

I must give credit to where the seed of this realization was sown: in Bryce Don’t Play’s Iron Fist course.  She had us think about our library as a foreign land where the customs and expectations may be unknown to those visiting us. I’d been focusing on the expectations, and hadn’t really thought much about our “customs.”

With all that in mind, here are the first few deliberate attempts at sharing our world with others:

I had added this image to our website events, and then a few months later realized that this would be a helpful tidbit on our events bulletin board. I’ve lost count of how many new visitors will take a look at our bulletin board to see what’s happening, so this would be a great place to share this very important information.

While writing this, I just realized that we need to add this little tidbit to our flyers/advertising. I mean, how many people see “library” and assume that they need a library card to do stuff with us? I don’t know, but I bet the numbers would likely surprise me.

The number two piece of information that I’ve heard many people be pleasantly surprised about: our Summer Reading Booklets. I’ve started the process of letting more people know about this, but I’ve got a way to go. I’m imagining a fun/informative video.

Yep, while posting this, I realized that I didn’t indicate that YOU DON’T NEED A LIBRARY CARD TO PARTICIPATE. Oh well, this is a learning process.

How about you: what have you noticed patrons being surprised about in your library (if anything)? Or do you have any tips or tricks to share with me about informing/advocating for what happens at your library?

6 thoughts on “Surprise!

  1. Great insights and ideas! I also advocate every couple of months walking into your youth area and REALLY looking at what you see through the eyes of a child and an adult. What would their experience be? Is the area people first see open and clear or are there barriers and lots of stuff? How difficult are the signs -full of words and “library lingo”? Is it difficult to spot where staffers are? Is the desk so loaded with “stuff” that ppl can’t see what YOU want them to see?

    Each time someone comes in, it is a subtle thing to welcome them and communicate in a way that respects them and their previous experience (or not) with our particular library. Great post!

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