Open Up Your Eyes


I spent as much of my travels to New Zealand and Australia looking up, down, and all around me. I was searching for trees, birds, bugs, and signs. I was looking to see how different the world could be when you are about 9000 miles (14484 km) away from home. The little details matter.

This could’ve easily become a post about how we should all look up from our phones from time to time to see what’s around us, but it’s not about that. Our phones do help us: We snap photos! They give us directions! They connect us! I think that is great. This post is about how we can all look around and see things that will inspire us in some way.

The Edge at the State Library of Queensland is amazing place to look around. They describe themselves “as a model for the library of the future” and that’s exactly what they are. This is a space for the people. They’ve got all the fancy tools and technology everyone wants to get their hands on, but what most impressed me were the little details. I enjoyed seeing how organized their space was. It had that “in use and a bit chaotic” look but in a clean and professional manner. Equipment and information was labeled, organized, and easily accessible. The signage (like their Kombucha Lab sign seen above) had neat little touches like the science-y beeker. I also really enjoyed the colors of their seats, space, and cabinets. They stood out and made me feel happy to be there.

Board books and picture books are beautiful. Show them off!

The way we show off our physical collections is also something to think about. Books are beautiful and should be shown off to the public. As a parent of two little dudes I’m more excited to find books just by looking at the covers than to dig through a shelf of picture book after picture book. If you’re asking “well how do we find the books if someone puts them on hold?” well just don’t worry about that right now. You don’t have to do that with everything you own. Show off the good stuff. You’ll find it if someone puts that item on hold.

Loft space at the Katoomba Library. When I was there I counted 35 people using this small section of the library.

If you are reading this while you are at work, first off let me say that I am proud of you for doing that. Continuing education about libraries is not something you have to do on your own time. You should get paid for it. Read away and grow that brain.

Getting back to things….

If you are reading this while you are at work, get up from your desk and walk around the library. Look at how people are using your space. Look at what they’re doing. Did you take all of that in? Good. That’s the value your library is providing to your community at this exact moment in space and time and this is how it will grow in the future. I just saw four people using their own technology (mobile phones and tablets), one alternating between an iPhone and a book, and one looking at our DVD collection.

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