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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Neil Gaiman reminds us that we need to be dandelions

I love the tips and hints that Neil Gaiman gives us in his keynote for the London Book Fair about the changing face of authors and publishers.

It struck me that his talk was similar to the essay that John Perry Barlow wrote years ago about the impact of mp3s on the music industry. Both Neil and John Perry remark on the economy of uniqueness where people are willing to pay for unique experiences. In the case of music, it is the live experience and the limited band t-shirts.

How does this relate to our school library? People are willing to use the space if it offers them something unique, something that they can't get online. Atmosphere, enthusiasm, experiences. What feelings or emotions does our school library evoke when we walk through the front door?

Our Senior Library has a photocopier right next to the entrance. So you walk in and you are greeted with a grey giant that frequently has people making angry sounds in front of it. Where is the happiness in that?

But what if the entrance to your library held ideas, inspirations, give aways or opportunities? Just like a book store, your entrance should be inciting and should frequently change to keep people on their toes. What if we used costume to allude to the content of a book?

As part of the Teacher Librarian degree that I am doing, I wish that they had a unit on marketing and merchandising. Because it is not enough that you should "house resources", you need to create experiences for the students and teachers. Experiences to discover, learn and resolve frustrations. You need to understand what drives the human spirit to want to enter a space and engage with it. You need to create a dandelion ...

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