Days like today provide one of the reasons I’ve always wanted to be a library director. I want to be part of the library’s outreach efforts, to direct them toward goals that make sense to me, and to have the chance to make meaningful connections with users. I didn’t expect that chance to come from sidewalk chalk, but I’ve been having fun, even so.
I came in Monday morning to see these messages all over our sidewalks. Every approach to Crumb Library had been tagged:
A very public complaint, and a very clear one. I don’t feel comfortable ignoring or responding privately to public complaints. So, later in the day, I replied:
While I was writing my replies, I was stopped by a few students. One said, “More chalk?” And I grinned, said, “The libraries’ response.” He was flabbergasted that we were replying to chalk notes. I said, “Hey, you want to talk to me in chalk, I’ll respond in chalk.”
Except I really responded with a poster.
The poster, as a .jpg on Flickr (click through for larger version):
So there it is. People have been complimenting me on the response all day. We’re working up a similar poster for the Crane Library to respond to concerns from the music school students. I was aiming for fast, transparent, and public, and I think I hit all three goals. I realize, as I type this, that I was also aiming for personable and approachable, and I hope I hit that one, too. I spent half an hour talking to people and soliciting opinions about approaches, and a few hours fiddling with a poster design… and maybe, just maybe, as a result of my decision to take those few hours last night to respond, the people who’re frustrated that we close at 6 on Fridays will understand why that is. And maybe we’ll get some suggestions about what they’d prefer we do.
Either way, it was fun. C’mon, who doesn’t like sidewalk chalk?