Friday, September 5, 2008

Give 'em time...

So I'm a little sheepish to admit that it has taken me so long to figure out the following, but here it is: When doing a presentation, leave a few minutes at the end to get people signed up for library cards.

In retrospect this seems like a total no-brainer but in the past I felt that I had to use all my allotted time to explain the virtues of the library. After having read most of Nudge, I now realize the error of my ways.

And what were the errors of my ways? Specifically, I didn't realize how seemingly small hurdles (like coming into a branch to get a library card) throw up roadblocks of inertia to those who would like to use the library's databases but just can't carve the time out of their day to come in and get a card. Once I have a group thinking about the benefits of the library, that is the time to get them hooked up with a card. Asking them to take the information home or back to their businesses and then come back to get a card is just asking too much. Humans don't operate that way.

Rather surprisingly, this new rule of mine holds just as true for presentations within the library as for those done out in the community. I just hosted a tour for a local Kiwanis group here at the library and even though we were all of 40 yards from the desk where you can get a library card, of the eight attendees who got new cards, seven of them were going to leave without signing up. Aaaack! Handing them an application and a pen and giving them time to fill it out is apparently really important. Huh. Who knew?

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