Create two displays.
I selected two themes for displays to run about two weeks each in the month of May and began preparing for them a month in advance.
Display One: Mysteries, May 2 - 21
Display Two: Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, May 21 - 31 (see next blog post)
My first display theme was chosen for practical reasons. I had started a weeding project in the Mysteries section, so I was becoming familiar with the collection. Creating a display with Mysteries also had the intention of freeing up the shelves which were getting overcrowded (hence, the weeding project) and highlighting the collection. Since Ballard Branch has a large Mysteries collection, this also meant that the display would be well-stocked without the need to request items from other branches.
Steps in creating and maintaining the display included:
- pulling books from the Mysteries section, prioritizing ones that are in good condition (no stains, tears, discoloration) and eye-catching, with a variety of topics and authors
- checking-in selected books to catch holds, which are then placed in transit bins get to where they need to go
- marking the remaining books with "display status" in Horizon
- placing the books on the display shelves with clear signage. (I used MS Publisher and free clip art.)
- keeping a back stock of extra books to fill empty easels and replace items that are not moving
- regularly checking display and repeating above steps as necessary
The Mysteries display was a success! I don't have exact numbers of circulation, but I initially pulled about 70 books for the display and back stock--and since they were being checked out at a fast rate, Hannah and I pulled more for back stock every few days. Aside from high circulation, the display created more awareness of the Mysteries collection, causing several patrons to request help finding more titles or asking where the Mysteries were shelved. At Ballard Branch, the Mysteries section is separate from Fiction, so, one thing I would have done differently with this display is add a note to the signage describing the location of the Mysteries collection.
I definitely saw an increase in my skills during this project. For example, at first I struggled choosing books to put on display. Really, I over-thought and took too much time with the selection of each book. Because I felt I was moving too slow, I made sure to check in with my mentor Hannah. I showed her my initial collection about 20 books and asked her 1) if I was on the right track with my choices thus far and 2) if she had more tips for me. Her feedback on my progress helped me work more efficiently and with less hesitance. I feel more confident in my ability to assess books for attractive and attention-getting displays.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn so much from creating displays. The process was more time-consuming than I expected; a lot of thought and effort goes into choosing an appealing display theme, collecting the books, keeping it stocked, and doing collection maintenance along the way. I'm thankful to have a better understanding of this responsibility.