During this Library Week I’ve been updating my Library’s online customers on the things that they can find in the library. The theme “Escape, explore, discover” has lent itself to a wide variety of promotional opportunities. I’ve tweeted about books and databases and free internet and renewals and the events calendar and then crossposted that via Facebook. The Library has so much to offer it’s no wonder people can be overwhelmed when they come into the library for the first time.
Are public libraries the department store of the information world? Department stores are “… a retail establishment which specializes in satisfying a wide range of the consumer’s personal and residential durable goods product needs; and at the same time offering the consumer a choice multiple merchandise lines, at variable price points, in all product categories. ” There is the obvious difference in that you’re supposed to return anything you borrow from the library but otherwise it seems to me to be a pretty good definition of the library.
Public libraries aim to satisfy a wide range of personal information/entertainment needs while at the same time offering customers a choice as to how that need is filled. You want information? Sure – in a book or magazine or online in a database? You want to read a story? Sure – in a book or on your PDA or would you prefer to listen to it? If it’s popular story – do you want to reserve it or pay to have it immediately? You want to hang out with your friends? Sure – have a seat or come to one of the events or wander around the library.
Just as a department store can be overwhelming (especially if you’re not really sure what you’re after) staff can really make a difference to your browsing or shopping experience. (I should have included “Discover your library team who will work with you so you get the best from your library”.) So to all the librarians working in their library on the weekend – Happy Library Week!