Visual Merchandising For Public Libraries

These are notes taken during the Visual Merchandising for Public Libraries webinar.
The speaker was Allison Ficus, a Branch Manager at Toledo Lucas County Public Library.

Creating Content Ideas
1. Pop culture and local events
2. Youth materials
3. Holidays and times of the year
4. Visual imagery

- convenience is paramount!
- user habits have changed and need to adapt to that with our merchandising
- consumers are used to being "rewarded" for leaving their houses

- messy displays have a lasting, negative effect

1- Examine how you have things set up currently
2- Study how patrons are currently interacting with your space
3- Create a plan

- take a look at your furniture, your space and your accessories (book easels, acrylic sign holders etc)
- what kind of shelving do you use?
- how is your entrance arranged?
- what does your space look like? is it too open? is it cramped?

- what collections are struggling and why? lack of interest? people don't know it exists? are there naturally adjacent high use sections helping circulation?
- learn to see your space differently
- draw a heat map! Have someone sit down in the entrance of the library and sketch a map of people's paths walking wise to get a sense of high traffic areas and under utilized spaces
- what collections can be moved? map it out!

- consider developing and committing to a brand identity

- flipboard is awesome

- unpaid posts are the most organic content you can create
- when paying for ads you should target specific audiences who may not know about all your awesome stuff yet

- it's not always about you! retweeting is good!

- only use culturally appropriate gifs

Creating Messaging for a Target Audience
What to think of when creating content.

1. Consumer behaviour and interests
2. Education & socioeconomic dynamics
3. Web activity & usage patterns
4. Message for programs and services
5. Social media engagement
6. Program goals

Remember that social media stats only cover the details about your social media users, not the entire patron base

- multiple displays work because of perception! People assume that since there are multiple copies of the book many people want it.
- be bold about the changes you make!
- always use a sign holder!
- use your brand colours and font for all signage

- create a template that staff can access and adjust as needed

Book Display Rules
- the pyramids: Tallest materials at the middle and back of the display
- face out/front up: face out/cover out
- straight lines: straight lines created with the books on the display
- balance and symmetry: items carry a lot of visual weight, try to balance the display accordingly
- no props!
- if your display looks like a sculpture, no one will want to touch it
- pixabay is great for display images
- only use one image for the display

- everyone should be paying for social media ads

Hashtags
- librarylove
- bookish
- bookstagram
- amreading
- booklove
- an emoji of a book
- booklover
- booksbooksbooks
- reader
- shelfie
- readers unite
- weneeddiversebooks
- PRIDE
- PRIDEmonth

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