Thursday, October 11, 2012

Assessing library displays

The final display for Front Line was to be tried and assessed over a period of three weeks. Each Monday the display shelves were filled with selected books and a note was kept of the titles on display. Over the week, when books were borrowed, additional books were added by staff but notes of items added to the display were not kept. The sample used for the assessment was therefore the original books on display at the beginning of each week.
The books chosen were those that may be of interest to older users of the library - Baby Boomers and older.
Depending on the size of the books there were usually twelve or thirteen titles in a display.
Nine (9) of the original books in Display no. 1 were borrowed during the week. The books in this display were  only non-fiction titles.

Eight (8) of the original books in Display no. 2 were borrowed during the week. The books in this display were primarily non-fiction with a few fiction titles.

Eleven (11) of the original books in Display no. 3 were borrowed during the week. The books on display were a mixture of fiction and non-fiction titles.

The types of books borrowed from the display can be divided into the following categories:
·     using computers, the Internet including Picasa, Office 2010 and digital photography (7)

·     recreation books (8) including playing golf and fishing and also knitting (2 each) as well as genealogy and writing a memoir (2)

·    lifestyle books (5) including health, aging and finance (one each) plus two travel books

·    fiction titles (7) (mixture of large print and general fiction) plus one memoir made up the rest of the books
A check of the borrower information for items borrowed showed that the items were primarily borrowed by members of the target group.

The experiment was continued into a fourth week but this time only three rows of shelves were used as it was considered that the bottom shelf was too low. The display was extended to end of an adjoining bay as well. The end of one bay contained nine (9) non-fiction books while the end of the other bay held nine (9) fiction titles. Hopefully these two bays will routinely be used to display a mixture of fiction and non-fiction items of interest to older readers.
Displaying selected titles from the general non-fiction collection in an area where fiction books are primarily located would appear, from this experiment, to be a useful way of broadening selection choices for library users.

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