Wednesday, October 5, 2011

NELA, Day 3

My last post for this conference! Day 3 was short, and I only attended two programs.

Displays on a budget

I'm always eager for advice on making good displays. I'm not very creative and I'll admit I'm a little lazy about this, but I think displays are important and work really well in promoting our materials. I got more than I bargained for here: the presenters shared advice not only on temporary displays but on long-term merchandising strategies.

In addition to particular displays and their setup we got some good general advice, like displays don't have to be in the building. Cambridge Public Library once had some books displayed on the T. I imagine there are other opportunities in the community for this type of thing. We are always saying we need to get out into the community - what better way than to attract patrons with our shiny sparkly materials somewhere they didn't expect?

We should be looking at the outside of our buildings too - what can patrons see through the windows? Do we put up banners on the outside of our buildings? What draws people inside? And once they get inside, what do they see? Apparently, studies have been done on how people enter buildings, and have found that people don't usually see anything in the first 10 feet because they are trying to orient themselves. So all those signs plastered on the front doors and in the foyer go unread. Paco Underhill and his books, such as Why We Buy, were recommended for his expertise in this area.

I have my own philosophy on displays, in that I think we should change them very frequently and, therefore, not spend too much time and effort getting them just so. But the reality is that most libraries do leave displays up for weeks at a time, and there are situations in which I would deliberately do so too. Lots of great advice and inspiration at this session!

Checklist for digital divide readiness

with the lovely Jessamyn West!

Her checklist is as follows:
1. Statistics: 21% of people still have no internet at home, and the rate of adoption is slowing.
2. Know your area. In many rural areas broadband is not available.
3. Know the divides: Are they economic, usability, or empowerment divides?
4. Outline YOUR problems. What do people in your community need?
5. Check yourself - who's responsible for the digital divide? (Librarians are pretty much it - who else is going to help people get online and up to speed?)
6. Evaluate your offerings. Is your website standards-compliant? Can blind people read it? Do you have books about technology?
7. Take good care of patron computers. These are the only computers many of them have. Clean them.
8. Offer clear information, clearly presented.
9. Play "what if." What's your responsibility in awkward situations when they need more help than you would normally give? What if there's a crisis?
10. Celebrate successes!

She is an engaging speaker, and more funny than I expected. I've read her blog for a while, and though I find it informative her incredible sense of humor doesn't come across. This session was a great way to end the conference! If you want more information she has her presentation and lots of additional resources here.

Altogether a great conference! Usually I feel like there are some strong sessions and some I would have been better off skipping. But every single session that I went to this year was good - I got something out of each one of them. That's a success to celebrate!

1 comment:

Jessamyn said...

I am so glad you enjoyed it and got some stuff out of it. I always love coming to NELA especially when it's in my own backyard.