23 Feb Using Holidays for Promotion and Assessment
Each year the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU takes advantage of Valentines Day to do a little self promotion, assessment, and to reward customer loyalty. In the days leading up the February 14 the library hosts “Love Your Library Week.” The library sets up a booth on the main floor and offers treats to patrons who write notes on paper hearts. Then the hearts are posted, using matching pink painters tape, to the glass handrails of the stairs that lead to the reading room.
Love Your Library Week is popular with patrons, not just because of the treats, but also because many of them take time to read all the hearts as they go up and down the stairs. An added bonus is the good feeling the event generates for the library staff. Every year a few of the staff are highlighted by name on the hearts, some staff see their services endorsed by our patrons, and everyone enjoys sharing the best aspects that draw them to the library whether they are patrons or staff.
At the end of the week, or a day or two into the next week when Valentines Day falls on a weekend, the library administration collects all the hearts, transcribes the text, and categorizes the comments. It is interesting to see the breakdown by topic. Despite the emphasis these days on the digital resources, the cloud, and personal devices, the writing on the hearts always has a strong trend to toward books, quiet spaces, and comfy chairs.
Setting up Love Your Library Week is simple. The toughest part, that we learned the hard way, is having enough hearts ready. The first year the library asked student secretaries to cut out craft paper hearts by hand, and we seriously underestimated the popularity of the project. Somewhere after the first few hundred paper hearts the secretaries suggested someone should find a better way for the next year. The library took their advice and ordered thousands of die-cut printed hearts from a local press, enough to last several years based on estimates of 1,500 to 2,000 hearts per year. From that point on the only additional expense is the fun size candy given to those who write on hearts.
by Roger Layton, Harold B. Lee Library