Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Design in Libraries

A reflection on "Appearances do matter!" in C&RL News by Nancy Fawley

A new issue of College & Research Libraries News arrived in my mailbox sometime late last week.  Typically, this publication is one that's more a browser than a reader for me.  The articles tend to be fairly short and you can get a lot out of just skimming them. This time, however, I stopped to read Nancy Fawley's article "Appearances do matter! What libraries can learn from Clinton Kelly."

Let me first say, I used to be a "What Not to Wear" addict.  I had cable while in graduate school and it was the perfect guilty pleasure.  I've learned a lot from Stacy and Clinton over the years and I think I'm definitely more stylish for having watched the show. When I saw Clinton was the closing keynote for ACRL last year, I was geeked.

Clinton's talk was fun, to say the least, and was insightful in discussing the way we present ourselves, not just in our fashion choices, but in the way we treat people, too. In seeing Fawley's article about Clinton, I was curious to read her opinions on how Clinton's advice applies to libraries.

While the article is not in depth by any means, it gives some great pointers as to why we, as librarians, should care about things like design, branding, and the visual appeal of the building. If I were you and hadn't read the article, I'd go check it out right now.

Nothing Fawley said was new to me.  I've been passionate about the way that libraries represent themselves to the people they serve for a long while. What was refreshing, however, was the fact that this is what I'm hoping to help accomplish here at GVSU in the coming year.  In less than a year, we will be moving into a new building that is on the cutting edge of library design. I'm excited for the opportunities we'll have to reach out to the campus in new ways.

This also means we have a unique opportunity to rebrand ourselves-to recreate our image. We've already started creating the approachable image through our @gvsuMaryI Twitter account.

There are many conversations that still need to occur and many decisions that need to be made before we're ready to move into the new library and a new chapter of the University Libraries as an organization at Grand Valley.   I think it will be an exciting process and am glad to know that others, like Fawley, agree that appearance is important even in the library.

No matter how many times we may say not to judge a book by its cover, we all know that we do and there's no stopping it.

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