One of the best things you can do to promote your collection to every patron is to put things on display. As Joyce Saricks has said many times before-- People gravitate to a smaller universe of books.
The huge mass of stacks is overwhelming for the casual browser. People want to be able to come into the library and see some good reads pop out at them. Displays, if done well and changed often can serve this purpose.
But many library workers think displays have to be elaborate and complicated. This is not the case at all. Displays can be any size. It is just important that you make the topic of the display interesting and include a wide range of diverse titles-- both in terms of “own voices” and a range of genres.
I have many links here on the blog using my displays and/or merchandising tags, including more theory behind the importance of displays. But you can also find fantastic ideas by using the #bookdisplays hashtag on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram.
Use the work of others as your inspiration. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
If you subscribe to NoveList, they also have many display ideas in their vast array of booklists. Specially in their LibraryAware product you can use their premed templates to not only find display ideas but also make a sign to go with it.
Once you have made an in house display, find a way to get it online too. Of course you can take a quick pic and post it to all of your library’s social media accounts with the hashtag #bookdisplay so that you can help others get new ideas. But you can also turn a fun display into an emailed booklist or a pre-program book talk. You can also make displays on your library’s Goodreads shelf. Once the work of putting the display up is done, spreading it out over multiple places and platforms is easy.
The point is make the time spent on putting together a display work double [triple, or even quadruple] duty. The display itself is NOT and end point. It is a starting point. This change in thinking about displays is a huge difference from how libraries have functioned for decades.
The display is where you begin to introduce materials to patrons. It is not the moment you stop working. Use the topic, the list of books, pictures of the display itself, etc... to spread the word about the great items you have for people to consume in their free time. The display is the staring line; the finish line is happy return customers and patron engagement. The increased circulation statistics and book discovery that happens as a result of displays is only one of the positive outcomes of what our main goal should be-- Patron Engagement.
Once you get used to using a display’s content other places beyond the shelf, the more interest you will get in your displays. More interest means the displays get emptied. Which means more displays. But the fun your staff will have seeing the displays strike a chord with users will also lead toward more people wanting to help make more displays. More people helping with displays means less work for you [yes] but it also means more varied voices providing content which can only improve your displays. And, that all leads toward better....you’ve got it now...Patron Engagement.
Sounds great, right? And it all starts with you. Put up a few new displays based off of the ideas of others. Give them credit on the sign in small print. Post them to social media [again give credit with a tag]. Then you are off and running to higher circulation, but also more engaged patrons and staff.
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