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20 Everyday Ways To Escape The Library Echo Chamber

Here’s an awesome post from Sally Pewhairangi in New Zealand.  Run to read it now.

20 Everyday Ways To Escape The Library Echo Chamber

  • “Next time you pick up a takeout coffee, observe the experience and compare it to your library’s service.
  • Read the book reviews in the local paper. What value could your library add to those reviews?
  • Note the language your favourite restaurant uses to describe their menu offerings and compare it to the language your library uses to describe its services, databases or collections.
  • Watch a TED Talks video on a topic you know nothing about. What did you learn? How could you apply this to library presentations?
  • Next time you’re at the supermarket observe how they use signage to provide direction and information. Also compare the self-check to that in libraries.
  • Take a walk in the park. What do you notice? How does it make you feel? How does it differ to your library?
  • Next time you visit a retail store, check how they place their security gates. Could you do anything differently with your library security gates?
  • Ask the next person you encounter, what is the best book they’ve read, and why they enjoyed it. Then read it yourself.
  • Invite someone outside your immediate circle of friends/peers to coffee.
  • Read a magazine that you haven’t read before.
  • While waiting for your next flight, ask the people around you what they think of libraries.
  • Try something new for the first time – food, craft, author or activity.
  • Ask someone outside your immediate circle of influence for their thoughts on your current project.
  • When writing your next report, consider how you could make it more visually appealing. Try it (even though you may not actually submit it).
  • Ask the weirdest person you know what they’re currently working on. Consider how this could be applied to your work.
  • Note the similarities and differences between your job and that of  a hairdresser, doctor, software developer and celebrity speaker.
  • Keep a journal of your experiences as a customer and rate them on a scale of 1 (awful) to 10 (amazing).
  • Ask the next person you meet when they last visited the library and why.
  • Ask your best customer what they would change about the library.
  • Make the above suggestions a team activity. Share what you’ve learnt from with your team.”

I’d a few that I do:

  • watch people in malls
  • watch people in airports
  • visit toy stores
  • watch how people behave in hotel lobbies
  • watch how staff behave in hotels – especially at the front desk.
  • Check out the descriptions in good restaurant menus thatm drive choice.

Add your’s in the comments.



Posted on: March 6, 2012, 9:52 am Category: Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Good stuff. As someone who constantly assesses libraries, I do many of the things listed above, paying attention to customer service, greetings, displays, and merchandising wherever I go. I also do these:

    + Talk to taxi drivers. They often ask why I’m in town, giving me the chance to say “for a library conference with 10,000 other people.” I love watching their surprise. Then they say something like, “So I guess it’s all about books, huh?” or something else that reveals their feelings. Then I tell ’em what libs really do these days and invite them to check their own for all the free resources. (Free ebooks & DVDs usually get their attention.)

    + In library stories online, I always read the comments. It’s a great way to see exactly how some people feel about libs & why they do or don’t support them.

    + When I’m on a train or plane, I often ask my seatmate what kind of work they do. I listen & learn. When they ask what I do, I give them a short Libraries Are Essential spiel.

    + I wear library t-shirts around town to get reactions and to strike up conversations. “Librarians: The Original Search Engine” works particularly well.

    In all these cases, I’m learning how people think about libraries (free research!) while informing them of why they’re still vital.

  2. Charlotte Clements said

    Always good to take a step back, or “go up the balcony” as an educationalist describes it. Thanks for passing Sally’s reminder along.
    I say “hi, I’m a librarian” when introducing myself in any non-library context. People usually take a moment to reflect on their own reaction, then a truly interesting conversation follows