On a + note


Displays Matter. #39: 2011

Posted in on a + note by Admin on November 14, 2011

Recently at the Guelph Public Library, we created a Front of House Committee; they are the folks at each branch who are responsible for how we look to our customers. They share display and shelving ideas and monitor our “living rooms” every day to make sure we are as attractive and welcoming as we can be.

The philosophy being, how the library actually looks is not incidental or random. We’re taking a page from Disney and recognizing that how the library looks in our customers’ eyes is important and how we “push the product” is essential. It’s not a frill or an extra; it’s survival, and it’s essential. However, I quickly add it also has to be time and cost effective. This is not about money; it is about simple ideas that keep our customers coming back.

Committee members allocate four hours per month to front of house and display work. First thing every morning, members take a quick walk around the living room. How are we looking? Are there magazines to re-shelve, displays to refresh, or shelves to tidy? Displays are changed every four weeks. Members agree to create four original displays per year and share them with the Committee. The goal is to keep us looking great, keep our design eye-catching, and to use innovative ways to push the product.

To kick off the Committee’s activities, members (who volunteered, one per location) visited a beautiful local home décor shop and spent an hour with their display person. She talked about how to design and build a display, what works, and what doesn’t. She offered some no cost ideas to make books and bookshelves look interesting. She talked about design elements and proportion, colour, balance, height, lighting, and simplicity. As she talked, she walked us around the store and illustrated her points. It was a great hour that really set the tone and ramped up our enthusiasm.

Back at the library, we talked about what we learned, set up a blog so committee members can share photos, and agreed to meet face-to-face twice a year to keep our ideas fresh, simple, and most of all, engaging.

Displays and how we look really does matter.

Have a great week.

Kitty Pope
kpope@library.guelph.on.ca                                               #40 November 2011

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One Response to 'Displays Matter. #39: 2011'

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  1. Justine Richardson said,

    The main library (where we go) really does look great. Kudos to the “front of the house” person who came up with the “Library of the Living Dead” wall for Halloween. My kids picked up on it right away and recognized about half of the historic people featured and they had just done the Terry Fox Run as well. We had a good time talking and learning about the others. Thanks!


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