I constantly get menus from local restaurants that want to deliver food to my apartment. I used to just toss them out, but now I collect them. I’ve become fascinated with appetizers and like to see the full range of possibility. Sure Pizza is the core, but tell me about the wings, the cheese bread, and those cinnamon sticks.
That’s how I see libraries. Collections are the core, and we need to make sure they’re fantastic, but what about all the accessories and side dishes? We have a ridiculous (but awesome) mix of stuff: cables, headsets, mics, multi-card media readers, laptops, cameras, video cameras, scanning adapters, gorillaPods, MP3 players, graphing calculators, digital voice recorders, wireless presenters w/ laser pointers, zip drives, USB drives, web cams, external DVD burners, and so on. Plus free black and white printing, color printing, large poster-sized printing. AND… most patrons (and staff for that matter) have no idea about all this cool stuff that we have to offer.
Last Summer I started to dabble with a menu concept. I wanted to feature students around campus, not necessarily in the Library, but individuals who would be recognizable to others. Originally I intended to do three versions: an athlete, an artist, and a scholar. The premise is that instead of tossing it aside, maybe some students would keep it. Make something cool that they’d want to hang on to and embed atypical library information that is functional. “Oh cool, they have digital camcorders!”
This is a very rough mock up. I designed it as a proof of concept, but our graphics designer would have polished it up, so work with me here. What I really liked was including the shuttle service info, along with a few restaurants that deliver on campus. If we’re going to allow food and drinks, let’s give them options.
Anyway, I got caught up in the Fall Semester and was never able to bring this into existence, however I was happy to see that our Circ Staff did. They twisted it to promote the accessories that they provide but the menu concept lives on:
It’s cool that people here are starting to buy into the library as product mindset. On a personal note, I’ve also recognized a change in myself. I used to want to control my ideas from conception, through development, and into implementation. But now I am much more satisfied to give ideas away to others. Maybe its maturity or just being too far stretched, but it’s nice to be someplace where I don’t always have to be the one to push the crazy ideas. Our Circ Staff has really gained a sense of ownership, and it’s cool to see them experiment.
So yeah, do your patrons know everything on your menu? What else have you got besides Pizza? Do they know about your Chicken Wings and Egg Rolls?