Reader development - it sounds rather ominous I know. But it's what I'm focused on at work at the moment. I'm almost finished an online course (Frontline - Reader Development), which tries to focus on what readers want from their library opposed to what we give them and in turn - how we present it to them. I've been doing lots of little displays, (which I should've taken photo's of), some of which have gone really well and a couple that have kinda tanked.
So what is it that you want from your library? Are you getting it from them? Is it easy for you to find or do you have to go looking? Do you know all the ins and outs of your library?
I know that as a reader, I can find my library lacking in some areas, a lot of the time we buy what we think our readers want, not what they actually want. It can be hard to pick the right things, especially if you don't get feedback from patrons. There are a select few patrons that know they can request items, but a lot of them aren't aware that it's a service we provide. So that obsure love of Swedish poetry is not likely to be catered for - unless you ask for it. But if you only read the latest 'best seller' we will no doubt have you covered.
As a staff member - I recommend books that I read to a few patrons, because I know they read the same thing. The problem that I have is that for the most part, I buy my books, I don't get them through the library. So I'm in a position where I will say: "XXXX author is awesome, you should definately try them!" Then they're like: "Cool. Where are their books?" and I'm all: O.o - we don't got none. Sorry.
I, (along with another staff member who reads the same thing), have been trying to make extra effort to request the books that we read as well as buy our own copies. And we're lucky that the genre we read the most, (romance - of all flavours), is popular and the books that we've requested so far, are getting lots of use. I'm all for going that little bit extra, espcially when I know there are poeple who appreciate/will use it.
I guess the big thing I've learnt is if you want something from your library, you gotta ask - it's the only way to get it. Otherwise, for the most part we'll keep buying crap that no one really reads - but hey, at least it looks pretty. The other thing is that libraries need to think outside the box, we might not be charging you, but if we start thinking like retailers we're more likely to attract buyers (or in a libraries case - hirers!).
Something to ponder as we come to the end of another Hump Day, hope it's been fun for you. I'm off to enjoy some poetry slam, until next time here's wishing you lovely things.