Libraries Turn Up Their Curb Appeal to 11
"Couldn't you just make 10 louder?"
"But this library goes to 11."
Shame on you if you don't get that reference.
Moving right along, my writer pals and I have had this conversation more than a few times, the one pertaining to why libraries are going down the crapper and how we (if we were so inclined) would move to change that. Sadly, foot traffic is down, and this can mainly be attributed to the fact that most book lovers prefer places like Barnes & Noble simply due to the amenities. Coffee and comfy chairs can go a long way, and it's not like libraries are exactly giving us the hard sell. There's no bombshell blonde in a Burberry pencil skirt asking, "What will it take to get you into this book today?"
In some fucked up parallel universe (perhaps on Fringe), they push Hemingway and Updike the same way we sell German automobiles.
Well, our libraries are taking a step in the right direction in regards to their curb appeal. In an attempt to stay relevant amongst competition and boost circulation, libraries are now mirroring the retail chains in a few capacities.
The downtown location of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, for instance, is taking a leaf out of the Starbucks playbook and has added some huge comfy chairs in their travel section. No purchase required. They encourage people to hobo it up with their laptops and loiter to their heart's content. Or if you're into poetry, feel free to share your thoughts on the message board (can't do that at Barnes & Noble).
They've also got a "As Heard on NPR" and "Staff Picks" section (remember when Blockbuster did that shit?). The Dublin branch marked off their true crime books with police tape, upping their presentation. And the Hilliard branch hits you with new and featured titles at the door, so just try and walk past the new Eugenides or Murakami without picking them up--they dare you.
Library spokesman Kim Snell remarked on the removal of the large circulation desks so they could put up more displays. “We don’t want our staff just hovering behind a desk,” Snell said. “Having the books facing out can expose patrons to a title, author, or subject that they might not have seen.”
So it sounds like our libraries are getting a little bit more proactive about getting people in, and I'm always happy to report on the pimping of the written word. While we're on the subject, what would you guys like to see in your local libraries?
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