Creating a welcoming school library
A fast, practical and enjoyable course to make a real difference to your library in just 4 weeks. You’ll learn how to manage key messages, control the environment and create a bit of ‘wow’ factor to tempt your students – and all without spending any money. Build a routine that you can use every day to be confident that your library always makes the very best impression.
The learner completes self-assessment exercises online.
Week 1: The Welcome
|The personal welcome|
|The physical welcome|
Week 2: The Wow Factor
|Making the most of your library|
|The space worth thousands|
|Create a showcase|
|Picking books for a showcase|
|Rapid display skills|
Week 3: The Workaday
|Bringing the library alive|
|Engaging with students|
|Connecting with colleagues|
|What is merchandising?|
|Merchandising graphic novels|
Week 4: The Win
|Bringing it all together|
|Build a routine|
|It’s a win|
This has been a really interesting and fun course. The main thing I learnt was how to showcase and display our stock to its greatest advantage. We have a lot of quite full shelves, and we've never really done much with them. As soon as I put books face on in a very underused section, it got looked at, and after a busy Saturday had been decimated! Which is really positive and gave us the enthusiasm to do more of this elsewhere in the library. I found looking at different book covers closely and being very selective of title choice really interesting too. I recognise that in the past I may not have made the best choices in books. All round a great course, very enjoyable and beneficial.
I have seen that the techniques on this course work. The public and my workmates like the displays and issues of displayed stock have increased. The stock looks more appealing, it has highlighted the other areas that could do with jazzing up. I feel more confident about suggesting displays to my supervisors and I know it will make me think harder about our stock.
Space is always an issue, our display areas are limited, so we could try and re-think our shelving arrangements so that they don't seem like barriers. Our entrance area leads straight to our issue pods so we must make other areas seem spacious by not cluttering things up. Pare down notices, streamline our posters and keep everything simple and fresh.
The display stands down at Kaiapoi Library have been well received, with books going off regularly and people browsing through them. With non-fiction located upstairs, we have been able to highlight the variety of books on offer that the customer may not have been aware of. It is important for the areas to be clear of clutter and with good signage.
The training showed the best way to present books to our visitors, something which I have always struggled to do before. It gives good guidelines and advice. I was always bit nervous when asked to fill up stock and to re-work the displays but not now.
The most useful thing I have learnt is the importance of displays, how they are displayed and what they are displaying. I've seen many more books coming off the display since the gaps were filled up and some interesting, but not subject-specific, books were put up. The underused fiction section also looks much friendlier than a random row of books now that it has some colourful ones facing out. Now just to keep it all up.
Over the duration of this course, I think what has stood out most is the importance of varying the colour of the book covers in the displays and leaving fewer gaps around books. This has much improved the appearance of our book displays and made them more attractive to customers. I also am now always on the lookout for areas of clutter. I think decluttering in libraries probably needs to be an ongoing process.
I've enjoyed trying new things within the library, some ideas I've been able to keep and others not. The changes I did with the Young adult area of making the book shelves all look different, moving the books around looks great. Issues have increased and the youth love it that their area is different and not the same as everywhere else. I enjoy walking past a display and changing over books that have been there too long and seeing the new ones going out the door.
I've learned lots of useful tips and shared from the experience and ideas of my learner colleagues. I'd like to thank Opening the Book for a stimulating and practical course.
I think the main thing I have benefited from is feeling braver with my choices for the displays. As we are single manned I have probably kept the displays as very simple, having had nobody to bounce ideas off, and it has been wonderful to see how others have tackled the ideas given to the tasks.
What has struck me most through the weeks is that we should look at the library through the eyes of the customers. This made me change several things that I had not been aware of before. Also the importance of grabbing customers’ attention through use of displays is very important. Less is more has made a big impact on me and I have decluttered some parts of the library and can now see how a few books displayed can be much more appealing than a too many books which can overload the customer.
One thing I've learned - or rather, been reminded of and given tips on how to implement - is the central importance of creating a certain impression on library users as they come through the door and move around in the library space. A quick glance and smile sets the tone, and can make the difference between someone feeling able to come and ask a question, and leaving without getting what they wanted from coming to the library. It's an empowering and motivating way to approach our work.
Although I have worked in libraries for many years and feel confident greeting and helping customers, doing the course has been a really useful experience, enabling me to take a fresh look at how I work and sharing my ideas with my colleagues. I now try and structure some time every day I am at work to ensure displays are looking great - hopefully generating issues! I keep a list of what topics we've used (and if they've worked or not!) also any ideas for future displays.
I have picked up a lot of tips and ideas from the course and will be using them over the next months to make the library space more exciting. I have de-cluttered some of the areas and this has made a big difference. We are hoping to make more room on the shelves to show off our collections better.
The biggest takeaway I have from the course is the importance of being customer-focused - from acknowledging people with a smile, to linking people with library services to arranging the physical space with an eye to what the customer sees when they enter.
One difference I’ve noticed in our libraries since the course was completed by colleagues and myself is the physical appeal of the space. I am noticing much more eye-catching books on display, and these are placed appropriately for people entering the library. I hope this leads to more reading and enjoyment of a wide range of literature by our customers.
This has been a very informative and thought-provoking course. I am seeing the Library space with sharper eyes now!
I have learned a great deal from this course, especially the value of good displays and marketing your stock to attract borrowers to items they might not normally borrow or were aware of. My awareness of this has been increased and wherever I am placed on cover, I apply these methods. My aim to provide a better variety of stock in displays and choose carefully what to include and not go straight for the obvious author.
When I started this course I thought I had a well-run library with well utilised stock.
From the first lesson I realised how mistaken I was!!
I decluttered and refocused my approach to displays and stock.
I have removed myself from the barrier that the desk had become - and would like to think I am becoming like one with the user.
Thanks to everyone for all of their help and for teaching me new ways to promote our library's books and services.
Doing this course has snowballed as other staff and our volunteers joined in the display experiments with great enthusiasm! We did achieve very interesting results in particular from using colour and contrasts in book covers. The challenge now is to narrow it all down to what works for our library and then to keep up the good work. I did a brief presentation at our recent district staff meeting to share what I have learned from this course, in particular that it is little everyday things you can do that will make a big difference in how visitors experience the library. I have really enjoyed the course and wish everyone else good luck with the work in their libraries.