Last week, a library volunteer and I were working on a project together. We each needed to work on a computer, but be close enough together to talk. The only arrangement like this in the library are the public workstations, so we worked out there.
In addition to getting the work done, I learned a few things:
- some of the keys of the keyboard didn't work very well
- the monitor had streaks and fingerprints on it
- it was hard to concentrate with people walking and talking around us
- both of us forgot to bring a flash drive to save our work
This experience reminded me of a post I read on Walking Paper (but I couldn't find it again). Aaron mentioned how important it was to put ourselves in our patrons' shoes, so we can see the library as they see it.
That's why I'm proposing "Work Like A Patron Day" on October 15th. In honor of the day, I think library staff should (when possible):
- enter and leave the library through the public entrance (not the staff doors)
- use the public restrooms
- use the public computers to do your work
- reserve public meeting rooms for meetings
- follow all library policies
Obviously, exceptions will need to be made. But, much like a sheriff spending a week in his own jail, this would give library staff a different perspective on the library. Experiencing the library in this way will make sure the library isn't just the place we work, but it's where our patrons work. And play.
As for the date, I picked October 15th because it is six months after Library Appreciation Week, which was April 13th-17th. Not that working like a patron is the opposite of appreciating the library, but it seemed to fit. Or maybe the week surrounding Oct. 15th should be "Library Patron Appreciation Week," of which "Work Like A Patron Day" is just one day.
Update: Thanks to a comment below, I added a Work Like A Patron day page to the staff training section of the Library Success wiki (http://www.libsuccess.org/index.php?title=Work_Like_A_Patron_Day) for general information and a flickr group (http://www.flickr.com/groups/worklikeapatronday) for sharing photos of the day. Please also share your experiences from the day here in the comments.