Stories are all around us – on our shelves, in the hands of excited patrons, on the ears of children and caregivers who attend storytime, and, according to David Cobb, keynote speaker for RUSA’s President’s Program, within the physical spaces in which we work.
In his presentation titled “Be Our Guest: Creating Immersive Guest Experiences in Libraries,” Cobb urged us to listen to the current stories that our physical spaces are telling us, and then pushed us to consider whether these narratives were actually meeting the needs of our patrons and whether or not they were also giving patrons a sense of surprise and delight. They must, said responder John Blyberg (assistant director for innovation and UX at the Darien Library), reach beyond the veil of memory to touch wonder.
Does your library evoke wonder in an integrated and holistic way? Interested in assessing your physical space, but not sure where to start? Here is Cobb’s list of questions to jump start your listening journey!
- What is unique about your location?
- Who is your audience, and what are their expectations of your library?
- How are you inviting your audience to take ownership of “their” library?
- How are you meeting the visitor where they are intellectually, emotionally, and physically?
- How is your library providing a different “third-space” experience from your local mall, Starbucks, or museum?
If it is true that stories have the capacity to expand our hearts, how great is our responsibility to craft stories of friendship, hope, joy, and wonder into the very fabric of the buildings from which we serve. I look forward to learning more about youth library spaces at ALSC’s President’s Program on Monday!
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