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Your library's attendance is up, but collection use is down. Your building is overcrowded—bursting at the seams—leaving little room for tempting displays and browsing areas. So many collections and special services areas have been added that the building organization no longer makes any sense. Signage is outdated, redundant, overabundant, and negative. Your customers are browsing, but not buying.

Using the basic principles of wayfinding and signage, urban planning, retailing, and conversion, the class will discuss:

  • Is your building a maze?
  • Would you like to roll out the welcome mat?
  • What are your customers' physical needs?
  • Who is your customer base and how do you get their attention?
  • Do you need help merchandising your materials?
  • Would you like your materials to fly off the shelves?

This workshop takes the concepts of retailing and the science of designing logical buildings and applies them to library design and customer service.

Workshop Description: This all-day workshop will provide an overview of the basic principles of wayfinding, site logic, and retailing. Through individual and group exercises, students will create and share ideas for increasing library use and customer satisfaction. Students will practice techniques for strategic location of materials and services, evaluation of floor plans and signage, for "closing the deal" and for creating eye-catching displays. The instructor will provide sample plans, cheat sheets, a webliography, as well as practical, useful tips that can be applied immediately. Attendees should bring a copy of their library's directional handout; e.g., floor plan, if they have one available.

Pre-workshop assignment: Students should come prepared to discuss issues with their library facility and their own positive experiences in retail environments.

Preliminary Course Outline

  • How's Business?
    • The science of retailing
    • Learning from the competition
  • Location, Location, Location
    • Site selection criteria
  • First Impressions
    • Identification and branding
    • Roll out the welcome mat
  • Navigation and Wayfinding
    • Facilitating wayfinding in physical space
    • Graphics and signage, audible and tactile tools
    • Site logic
  • What Your Customer Needs
    • Meet your customers' physical needs
    • Accommodation
  • What Retailers Know
    • Assess the physical layout
    • Conversion - turning the browser into a buyer

Workshop Instructor: Linda Demmers