Work Like a Patron Day

Brian Herzog writes:

http://www.swissarmylibrarian.net/2008/10/07/work-like-a-patron-day

Last week, a library volunteer and I were working on a project together. We each needed to work on a computer, but be close enough together to talk. The only arrangement like this in the library are the public workstations, so we worked out there.

In addition to getting the work done, I learned a few things:

  • some of the keys of the keyboard didn’t work very well
  • the monitor had streaks and fingerprints on it
  • it was hard to concentrate with people walking and talking around us
  • both of us forgot to bring a flash drive to save our work

This experience reminded me of a post I read on Walking Paper (but I couldn’t find it again). Aaron mentioned how important it was to put ourselves in our patrons’ shoes, so we can see the library as they see it.

That’s why I’m proposing “Work Like A Patron Day” on October 15th. In honor of the day, I think library staff should (when possible):

  • enter and leave the library through the public entrance (not the staff doors)
  • use the public restrooms
  • use the public computers to do your work
  • reserve public meeting rooms for meetings
  • follow all library policies

Obviously, exceptions will need to be made. But, much like a sheriff spending a week in his own jail, this would give library staff a different perspective on the library. Experiencing the library in this way will make sure the library isn’t just the place we work, but it’s where our patrons work. And play.

As for the date, I picked October 15th because it is six months after Library Appreciation Week, which was April 13th-17th. Not that working like a patron is the opposite of appreciating the library, but it seemed to fit. Or maybe the week surrounding Oct. 15th should be “Library Patron Appreciation Week,” of which “Work Like A Patron Day” is just one day.

I can’t say enough about this idea. I’d urge TTW readers to give it try. Walk in the front door with users’ eyes. What signage do they see? What works? What doesn’t?

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6 thoughts on “Work Like a Patron Day”

  1. We started construction on our main library which forced us all to enter and leave through the main entry instead of the back door every day. We immediately noticed things like tons of gum on the sidewalk, and one of the hours signs was wrong! It’s highly educational to do for a week or so, enough time to notice a lot of things.

  2. good idea! As a student I have very different perspective on the library than the staff and the librarians. Although I work at the reference desk at one library I still have a student’s view every time I come to work.

  3. I often dream of having a staff entrance, a staff restroom and a staff meeting space as well as public meeting space. *sigh* Such is the life of a small branch librarian.

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