To Display or Not Display
<em><strong>Warning:</strong> I’m going to go on a lengthy-for-me philosophical post in terms of the motivation for the displays that we do at our libraries. This is unusual for me, but thought it worthy enough to bring up here – and thought that others might want to think about this and/or share their thoughts. It began as an aside in my <a href=”http://hafuboti.wpcomstaging.com/2014/02/03/the-genre-dating-game/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Genre Dating Game</a> post, but decided it had become long enough that it deserved its very own post.</em>
The other day an awesome librarian on Twitter posed the question of who was doing a “blind date with a book” display this year. His concern was that he felt it had been “overdone.” I get his question, but it gave me pause and took me down a different path. I almost felt like it was a question of <em>is it more important to impress other librarians online with new/creative displays than share something fun with your community?</em> ”Blind date with a book” has indeed been all over the place in the library world, but how many patrons in your community have experienced this novel idea? <em>(bad pun intended)</em> From what I can tell online, these displays generally get a good response – so why not do it if you haven’t done it before? If you did it before and you had a wonderful community response, then why not do it again? Conversely, should you begrudgingly create a display that doesn’t inspire you just because it’s popular in other libraries?
This simple interaction on Twitter really made me think about my motivations on why I create displays and then post them to my blog. Have I shunned display ideas because they were popular? I mean, it’s my typical knee-jerk reaction to distrust or question popular things. In general I enjoy going against the grain. So I really had to step back and contemplate what I do and why – and I’m very grateful to that librarian for giving me something upon which I should reflect.
<img class=”alignnone wp-image-1425″ title=”Inserting a gratuitous picture of Hafukiti here. Mainly to break up my blathering. But also because I think it looks like he’s contemplating my musings so I don’t feel like I’m speaking into a void. The kitty will listen to me (but I know he’s just waiting for me to say "kitty treats" – the only words he cares about).” src=”http://hafuboti.wpcomstaging.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/cutiepatootie.jpg?w=576″ alt=”Hafukiti snuggled under a floral comforter. My calico kitty looks thoughtful and pretty dang adorable (because he is). He really doesn’t care about the topic of this conversation. He only cares about two words: "kitty treats."” width=”576″ height=”1024″>
I think that overall I use my blog to share creative ideas with a creative community. Do I enjoy getting a positive response to something new I created? Heck yeah! Do I enjoy sharing the sources of others’ ideas that I’ve tried out at our library? Double-heck yeah!! My hope is that through this online sharing (of both the old and new), our communities will benefit from the energy and great ideas that are generated. Furthermore, I hope that I can help save a librarian out there some time when creating a display by posting signs and other printables for him/her to use. It’s also my personal taste that I prefer not to repeat myself in terms of displays/themes, but if something we did at my library had a profound response, then you bet your sweet bippy I’d do it again the next year.
Do I think that this is the most important issue facing a constantly-embattled public library world? Heck no. But I think that there’s a lot of creative-type people in libraryland who get a huge sense of pride and accomplishment when they create a pleasing and popular display. I’d love to hear from any of you out there if you have thoughts about this. Am I overthinking this? Do you find yourself inspired or not-so-much when you see a really popular display idea? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments if you’d like. I just thought this was something I’ve been thinking about that others might want to think about too.