Be mobile : move away from the desk

MI don’t mean “mobile” as in, does your website work on mobile devices? Yes, this is important (seriously have you ever actually tried searching your library’s website on a mobile device, you might be shocked & disappointed by what you find).

In this instance, I mean “mobile” as in move away from your desk, your computer, your usual space of work.

Get moving. Find a different perspective. Step out into the physical collection. Sit at someone else’s desk. Sit amongst the public in your library. Sit in a beanbag with your students. Hang out by the magazines. See what your customers see.

When you are looking at the results of the circulation data you’ve collected, is there a physical reason why some collections are not borrowed as often, and others rocket out the door? You need to go out & actually look at the collection to see what other factors come into play.

What is the layout like? What is the co-location like? Where are your displays? Are all your craft books on the bottom shelf? Are all your art & design books in the far back corner, the one with poor lighting? Where is your Māori collection? Are the children’s DVDs all on the top shelves? If you sit in a beanbag, what appears in your line of sight?

First up, is your signage clear? Do you often have to say “go to the end of third row, turn around, walk sideways between the poles, and then on the bottom shelf is the collection you are looking for”? Would a customer ever find that collection without staff intervention?

What if … you had colours on the walls? You could say “head to the green corner” or “it’s on the blue wall”.

Second of all, how are your collections co-located? Are your teens & adults biographies near or far away from each other?

What if … you had a crossover non-fiction and/or fiction section? Instead of saying “this is children’s, this is teens, this is adults”, what about a section that is likely to be read by all ages? Not saying it would easy to do, but why not give it a try to see if issue stats go up?

Thirdly, are your collections set up for browsing or for specific item findability?

What if … you had display/tilted shelving in your “serious” collections? There’s always going to be the books with great content, but with terribly boring spines or covers, that just don’t invite you to pull it off the shelf, no matter how fantastic the content. Sometimes you have to handsell that book, and that might involve putting it on display, even in a serious academic collection. You’ve already paid for the content, but you might need to give it a nudge to actually be used if the content is poorly packaged. M

And just because it feels like a quirky kind of day, & I was pretty tempted to use this M as the lead letter, I’m going to add in another Daily Drop Cap, for all you moustache lovers out there.

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