My library is thinking about recharging stations for mobile devices. So I’m looking into outlets with USB slots, special stands, etc.
How come? Because customers want to recharge. If you walk around our library, you’ll notice we have a lot of lamps by comfy chairs. Guess what? Those lamps, for the most part, will be unplugged. Because people are recharging their devices. So – we’ll probably be doing something to address that.
That also made me think – why shouldn’t the library be the community’s recharging station? For more than just mobile devices? What would we need to become the community’s recharging station?
Here are some ideas:
- Lots of outlets
- Lots of USB plugins
- Comfortable chairs that can be moved around
- Electric car charging stations
- Lots of windows in the building
- Offer video games for more than just teens
- Make the library a fun place instead of a quiet place
- Offer classes related to recharging/de-stressing
- Be positive. At the desk, in signage, in instructions.
- Focus on do, not on don’t. Yes rather than no.
- Help customers make things
- If someone’s sleeping in the library … maybe don’t kick them out.
- Offer exercise classes. You have the books and the videos … why not the actual class?
And of course, have lots of good books
Thoughts? Comments? Do you think of your library as the community’s recharging station? If so, why? If not, why? I’d love to hear from you!
Pics by Emergency Brake and Viktor Hertz
I’ve been doing a lot of reading on responsive design lately (because my library is headed towards that), and that made me think. When designing websites, we tend to design for devices. That’s what responsive design is all about – it’s coding in such a way that your website “responds” appropriately to different screen sizes (i.e., desktops, tablets, smartphones). We design for things: for a desktop; for a screen; for a browser; for a tablet or smartphone.
Nothing wrong with that – a modern website has to work on all those devices, right?
But I also think we need to shift our focus a bit, to where it really counts. And that focus is not on the screen.
We need to design for people.
What’s that change?
We still need to do all the usual stuff – i.e., use great css, work on making our websites responsive, think about screensizes, readability, contrasting colors, etc.
But let’s also focus on people:
- Put content first.
- Ask customers what content they want … and then create that content!
- Answer the why, what, and who questions.
- Provide next steps and calls to action on ALL content.
- Make asking questions and getting responses easy and seamless.
- This works for our physical and our digital branches.
- What else? Add to my list in the comments…
Simply put – put people first.
pic by Nicola Albertini
Ever wanted to know what your customers think is missing from a service point in your library?
There’s an easy way to find out … just ask! Post something that asks “what’s missing?” and start gathering answers. For example:
- Want to find out what’s missing on your public PCs? Tape a form to the table by each computer and ask for comments.
- Have a teen room, and you want to find out what’s missing there? Put up a white board that asks “what’s missing?” (and be prepared for some snarky responses. They’re teens, after all).
- Have a mobile website or app? Do what my library did. The last link on the main page of our mobile Boopsie app is “What’s Missing? Send us a Suggestion.” Clicking that link leads to an email form that gets sent to me. And believe me, people fill that out!
- Ask through your library’s social media channels.
You can ask a similar “what’s missing” question on a website, in a room of the library, or even in the stacks. The point is this: if you want to make improvements in the library, you need to find out what’s missing … and fix that stuff.
Pic by crdotx