We’re All Adults Here
Book Recommendations & Other Musings
by Carol Tuttle
Bookstores are learning from libraries.
Several years ago, libraries voiced concern about losing the interest of patrons who might be drawn to the glamour of bookstores. Since then we have been doing our best to emulate many of the marketing ideas found in bookstores: bright eye-catching displays and shelving styles that encourage readers to grab an armful of books or try a new author. Coffee machines have been tested by many libraries (as you can guess, this one can be a bit problematic at times). We have enticed people who work remotely to come away from the bookstore coffee shops and into the public library with cozy reading areas and functional workspaces (“visit us for the laptop tables, stay for the books and movies…”). Libraries hoped that the lure of quiet, clean spaces for reading, working and relaxing would be important to our patrons.
Ironically, as bookstores are now feeling the pinch in sales (and sometimes closing), research is finding the customer service (such as that already provided by the trained staff in libraries) is of primary importance to the bottom line. In the recent fiscal quarterly report of Barnes & Noble, Demos Parneros, CEO of B&N said:
“Through customer research, we discovered that customers come to Barnes & Noble not only to browse and discover, but also to interact with our booksellers…we encourage our booksellers to be more proactive with customers and actively engage with them.”
Libraries already know this. The people who work in the Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library system are friendly people who are motivated to be helpful and engaging. Yes, we are remodeling, updating, and improving our public spaces to make them welcoming to our community members of all ages. But staff remains committed to providing helpful service to the people who walk through our doors or call us on the phone. We take seriously the challenge of providing easy, meaningful access to our catalog, website and digital resources. Our staff loves reading and knows books, movies and music. Ask us. We’d love to help you.
Carol Tuttle is the Collection Services Librarian for the Willoughby-Eastlake Library System. She is currently reading Only Child by Rhiannon Navin (upcoming February 6. 2018) and Commonwealth by Ann Patchett