What Libraries Can Learn from Bookstores: Applying Bookstore Design to Public Libraries

Here's an article (Librarians Yellow Pages) from Chris Rippel, Central Kansas Library System, Great Bend, Kansas on how libraries can apply what bookstores have learned to draw in customers. The place should feel, sound, look and even smell appealing. Suggestions on how to do it are abundant, but not all necessarily practical, for example, how do you make a library smell like ...

Cinnamon, coffee, apples - homecooking, warm, family, cozy or

Orange - healthy and bright

Lemon - fresh, clean

Wood - general country hardware store

...and not like mold or mildew?


Getting rid of dust would help. Small vacuum cleaners with snake-like hoses should be issued.

At any rate, it's about time libraries paid more attention to customers as far as making libraries more appealing is concerned, and learn from bookstores and other retail outlets on how to do this with open arms, and stop pretending that we librarians know it all.

No, it is about time libraries pay more attention to taxpayers. Calling library users customers is bullshit feelgood marketing crap, heck so is patrons. The only people about whom librarians should care are the people that pay the taxes. They are the voters that vote for that extra half mil you want, or more correctly vote against it because you have alienated them by listening to the poor non-voting, non-taxpayers.

There are some basic ideas in this article which are good, especially on lighting and other features. But the author does not differentiate between different types of libraries. Research and college libraries, for example, have valuable books that are difficult, if not impossible, to replace. Coffee in a library sounds good, but it works in bookstores where multiple copies of books still in print are found, rather than research tomes. Also, this was covered in a series of messages back in 1998 in [email protected](see: http://listserv.kent.edu/cgi-bin/wa.exe?S1=libref- l and search for "Laughing Librarian") concerning Steve Coffman's article in American Libraries.

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