...What is an unboxing video? Well, they are videos where people open something new to advertise it in some way. Here is an article from last Fall in the New York Times that explains it and talks about why people really love them.
The other day I realized that this would be perfect for libraries. We could open up boxes of new materials as they come in and show them off to our patrons. Not only would this increase interest, it is also a wonderful way to showcase the breadth of our holdings. And it bridges that physical virtual divide perfectly-- showing people online what we have in the building and getting them excited to visit us.
So I went out in search of libraries who are doing unboxing videos and the only public library I could find who does these regularly is Hatfield [MA] Public Library. Click here to see their extensive unboxing video playlist. These videos are great because they do them regularly. It looks fairly low tech. They literally film themselves opening the boxes that come in, remove the items and talk about them. Sometimes it is nothing more than looking at it and reading the cover copy. And most importantly, they are having a lot of fun while doing it. Their excitement for every item is infectious.
A viewer cannot help but get excited to checkout one of the items. It is such a great advertisement for what we have in our collections. And, it shows the tax payers what they are getting for their tax dollars. It is a powerful marketing tool in many ways.Click here to read more from that post.
One of the best things about this blog is that I can write a post one day and someone out in the library world finds it at a future time, the time when they most need to find it. I can help people in real time or in the future. I take this fact very seriously because I realize it could be a blessing or a curse.
Take for example this past Monday when the Pell City Public Library in Alabama reached out to me from a library, far away from me, about a post from 9 months ago about their unboxing videos after coming across the post above. They are very proud of their purposefully goofy unboxing videos which you can view here.
And I would agree they they are goofy, but that is because they are enjoying themselves and illustrating how fun the library is with their excitement. They truly love sharing each title as it comes in, even if they know nothing about it.
Unboxing videos are an excellent way to get your community excited about your collections, drawing them in across the physical virtual divide, and making the collection the star. Your enthusiasm is contagious and will draw patrons in to give some of the books a try, books they mightn't have know you carried without seeing the video. Sure they know you have the newest best seller, but do they know about some of the excellent smaller releases that your collection development people are adding on a regular basis?
Well, if you posted an unboxing video, your patrons would see every title, without them being already sorted by fiction/nonfiction or kids/teens/adult or even by format. We understand the breadth of our collections because we see the entirety all of the time; however, the average patron only knows about the items they encounter when browsing in their preferred section of the building.
Again, why aren't more of us doing these?!?!?! And don't say you are two small-- both of these libraries I have put a spotlight on are tiny. Also don't tell me you don't have the time. Are you opening the boxes of materials you are receiving? I am going to go out on a limb and say that is a yes for 100% of you. [Okay it's not a limb, but that is my point.] Well, when you open them, set up a camera to film it. There are no good excuses here to not do this.
An added bonus in Pell City, they film the videos in different parts of the building showing off their spaces too. They make a point to mention where they are in the building. You don't have to only unbox your books in the hidden back rooms of the library.
Thanks to Pell City Public Library for reaching out. If you are doing unboxing videos, please let me know. I want to showcase your work.