The Real Library Wow Factor.

The Wow Factor.

According to Designing Better Libraries, we need to find our Wow Factor.

One characteristic of delivering good user experiences is that it typically results in return business. Whatever that experience is, it is something the user wants to experience again. The idea of the Wow Factor is another way of describing a good user experience.

But libraries already have a Wow Factor:

Wow. There are some really creepy people here.
Wow. There is a nasty, offensive smell over there.
Wow. Those parents just let their toddler wander off while they use that computer.
Wow. I didn't know he/she/it could do that (referring to the Constitutionally protected adult video playing on the computer monitor).
Wow. I am really really afraid to walk out to my car alone.
Wow. I don't think I ever want to go into that bathroom again.
Wow. I can steal stuff from here every day.
Wow. All those girls are leaving their Myspace pages open for me to access their passwords.
Wow. I have got to stop paying taxes for this.
Wow. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

What these "marketing epiphany" people don't understand is that libraries are funded, at best, to maintain existing services to keep up with growing populations. We don't have money for comfy chairs or selling robust Colombian coffees. We have to clean poo off the carpets, thank you.

We need to promote library services, not adopt book store services (unless you want us to start charging book store prices).

We teach early literacy. We assist adult learners. We offer cultural and educational programs. There is never going to be any way we will ever be able to compete with Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The fact is, we already have the loyalty of our patrons; the ones who need us, find us. But we need to seek out the rest who need us. As long as your mission is to educate, you are never going to attract Little Miss Forever 21. And if we make pretty libraries, will we still be able to fulfill our mission?

But if you come in my library when I'm on the desk in my new Spring Stella McCartney floral dress, you'll swear you're in the purtiest liberry ever.

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