Thursday, September 23, 2010

My nerdy librarian thoughts on book displays

Creating displays are a very librarian-ish activity to encourage reading!  The main idea is to attract attention to specific books so that people will borrow them.  There are a few ways I've noticed librarians approaching displays. 

This is sooo Barnes and Noble type marketing.
Often, displays are created entirely out of books.  These are basically just shelf space with books standing up, greeting library visitors like wide eyed puppy dogs in a pet shop window asking to be brought home.  So when John Q. Patron walks into the library, not sure what he's looking for, just something to stave of bordom he glances over and notices that the Zombie Survival Guide happens to be available he can easily snatch it off the shelf to check out without digging through the stacks and potentially touching a "girl book" or something equally as revolting (in his eyes).  I like how the display I pictured here uses the color of the books to draw the eye around the square of shelf space.  These sort of displays make increasingly more sense to make routinely as shelf space becomes more plentiful with the greater availability of electronic resources such as databases.  This poetry display was created in a bookstore called "The Book Collector" out in Sacramento, California and was posted on this blog:

I've noticed other librarians display color images of attractive book jackets rather than the actual book.  Perhaps this is good for advertising new books that are likely to be very popular and require a waiting list actually check out and borrow.
Myself, I like the idea of having actual books facing out to greet patrons, and I am less keen on the idea of images of books in most cases.  It's easy to grab a book off the shelf if you see it and want it.  Myself, I am much less likely to find a title I am dying to read from looking at images of books in my browsing.  I actually tend to skim my eyes away from those type of displays when I enter a library because I assume the books are already checked out and unavailable for my personal requirement for instant gratification. If I wanted to see images of books, I'd sit home in my jammies in front of the Internet, before calling the library to request a hold. I am sure there are other people out there with a difference of opinion, but this is just me.

Gimme some scary stories!
There's another sort of display that is promoted by this library display blog that I recently came across ( )  These displays aim to use eye catching visual images on a wall or bulletin board to attract patrons to a table or shelf with many books based on a theme such as a holiday a particular author, or genre.  The visual images used for displays in this blog are very interesting and artfully created. If you are a librarian or baby librarian, and you want to improve your display making skills, it's worth that blog in some depth.  It makes my stupid displays that I've made for some of my coursework look totally amateur! In fact, I am very unhappy with my display making experience in general.  I could really stand to gain some experience in this area.  This Halloween display was posted on the above mentioned blog after it was created by Lisa Stofac. 

I am certain that I have the natural ability to create some outstanding displays as I enjoy to create artwork and paintings, it's just that buletin boards offer such a large amount of space and I'm just not used to working on that sort of surface with materials such as paper and including words... With some practice, I'm sure I would do fine.  I just need to get out there and do it! And I can just add that idea to my list of volunteer work that I would like to do someday when free babysitting becomes a reality... (if ever.)  blahs.

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