Having a deep, quirky & content-rich collection is only useful if you give your customers access to it. We often talk about Reader’s Advisory, and what does it mean to us as librarians, and what *could* it mean for our customers. There’s lots of lazy & obvious ways to do Reader’s Advisory, but why not commit time & effort to meaningful Reader’s Advisory.
What if … next year, instead of only celebrating & creating displays for your usual annual events, you set aside the time & space to truly showcase the depth & breadth of your collection?
Brainstorm about the weird, wonderful & whimsical items that reside in your collection. Set staff a challenge to bring their favourite “strange” book/DVD/magazine to the next staff meeting and then talk about what topics could springboard from using that book as the centre-piece of a monthly display.
Uncover ways to connect the unusual things. Pick a random topic/word, write it up in the centre of a large piece of paper, and ask others (colleagues & customers) to write up other words that they associate with that word. Then find ways to connect the dots using your collection.
Draw up a list of dates that celebrate the strange. There’s always something being celebrated somewhere, so give staff a list of dates and ask them to find out what weird & wonderful things are associated with those dates. Can you build a display around it?
What if … you picked a colour as your theme for a month?
You *could* do the obvious display based on the prominent colour on the cover of the item. Or you could develop reading opportunities based on a single word response to the particular colour. What does Green mean? What does Orange mean? What does Red mean? Do these colours evoke emotional responses? Where does that journey take you?
What if … every morning you chose a quote (display it on your entrance way, on your website, on your social media stream) to set the tone for the day? Be whimsical, be unusual, be different. Give people something unexpected in their day.
What if … a weird & wonderful fact every morning with your customers & staff? Such as, in 1963, the most watched TV program in New Zealand was [insert name of said TV show here]. You could then direct customers to specific digital resource on your website, for example, NZ On Screen.
What if … you chose four famous speeches (and perhaps make those speeches related in some way, for example, political speeches by Churchill, Ghandi, Kennedy, Thatcher) and spent a month showcasing content related to those speeches?
What if … you found a way to digitally access the original articles that led up to the “discovery” of something scientifically significant? DNA. E=MC². Penicillin. Use those as your launchpad to uncover the links with future scientific discoveries.