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Katie Fraser's blog and website

I'm an academic librarian, working in the UK Higher Educational sector, supporting academics and students. Prior to this, I was a researcher, working with social and learning technologies.

My interests include the application of emerging and traditional technologies, research support in libraries, learning spaces, evidence-based practice and the professional development of library and information workers.

You can find out more about more about me from the links to the left. Note that the views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other individual or organisation.

Public library promotion

August 26th, 2008

One final thread to tie up from the Essex job before I leave at the end of the week and that’s the public library display we were trying to set up as a part of the National Year of Reading – see this previous post. Our materials finally arrived and we put them up in the foyer of the library. As you can see on the left, it was a fairly basic display, just covering the services that the public libraries in the area offer that we felt didn’t overlap too much with our own: a wider range of fiction, CD / DVD rental, and bookable computers. It was important to us that we neither gave the impression that we wanted our patrons to leave us and use the public libraries instead, nor confused them by describing services that were too similar to ours. In fact a major consideration while making the display was to make sure that our circulation desk weren’t going to be inundated with queries about DVD lending services we didn’t offer. I just hope we made the PUBLIC LIBRARY bit prominent enough, or the staff will be cursing our names for months!

The response to the display among our library staff was really interesting – I’d say the instinctive reaction was to be slightly defensive about promoting a different library. However, when they saw that we’d focused on the things that made us different it reduced the element of competition. Lots of staff seemed interested in finding out more, and we even had a member of staff or two suggest they might check out some of the services! I think it’s a good idea to some kind of dialogue between different library services in this way: there is the potential for traffic to pass between academic and public services, and perhaps even a small gesture of friendship like this between the two might make us a little bit more likely to think of each other as comrades in arms!

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