Would You Date Your Library?
At Library Strategies we are fortunate to have visited hundreds of libraries. Whether it is a strategic planning project or training or a capital campaign, we’ve learned that like people, libraries create a strong first impression when encountered. A good question to ask is, if your library were a prospective partner, what would be your first impression?
Here are some of the attributes we think indicate a library is date-worthy:
- Cleanliness. This is true throughout the library, but even more so for the entry and checkout/desk areas. On top of cleanliness, up-to-date materials and flyers indicate that someone is paying attention.
- Friendly. It is great to be met with a smiling face. No “downers.”
- Easily understood and welcoming. Having good signage or other navigating tools really helps make for a pleasurable first impression.
- Energy and life. This can take many different forms, but libraries that have well attired, with exciting buildings, or colorful art, or are filled with lively groups of people, make one want to stay and explore further.
- Openness. Having some open areas, and shelves with space that aren’t stuffed to the gills, makes the library more attractive.
- Kids are fun. Obviously this is for public libraries that serve children, but engaging areas for youth really make a library vibrant.
- No Luddites. Libraries don’t have to have the latest, but no computers (or technology that is obviously ancient) is a definite turn-off.
- A healthy appetite. Whether welcoming food or drink, or obviously signaling a desire for more programs or community engagement, a library that exudes “more” makes one want to fall in love.
First impressions can indeed be deceiving, but walk into any library and if it has most of these attributes, it is a likely sign that the library is healthy and happy.