Hondas and Harleys and Triumphs…oh my!
As a person currently working in a library — who is in charge of fashioning most of the displays — I was quite impressed and inspired when I read about the River Falls Public Library (RFPL) Motorcycle Display (Jones 2013) in River Falls, Wisconsin. I immediately began to think of how I could do something similar within the structure of my library. I was entirely encouraged to look at our collection and see if there were any realistic ideas that could come to life like this display at RFPL. The notion of this is quite outside the box and therefore just what is needed in the library world today.
As representatives of the library community we must always look for ways to entice the public to not visit, and then to be impressed with what they find. This display was about reaching an audience that may not have regularly utilized the library before. As stated in the article “The idea is to attract people to the city’s library, from bookworms to gear heads to folks who have never heard of the Dewey Decimal System.”
“Pure genius” is my reaction!
What did they do?
The RFPL produced an exhibition of vintage motorcycles titled “That’s a Fine Motorbike.” The exhibition features several motorcycles from different companies such as Harley Davidson, Honda, and Triumph. The oldest is from 1934 and is a Harley VL. There are also bikes from the 1960s through the 2000s. The feedback has been an increase of library visitors from all over the community as well as out of state people who heard of the exhibition via Facebook from vintage motorcycle clubs within the River Falls area.
Where does this go from here?
I think this raises the bar for all libraries. My library has two small to medium size display cases that are enclosed and locked and have only ever featured books. My plan for inspiration is to invite local artists to display some of their art work in tandem with a particular theme within the display. This will punctuate the idea as well as accentuate the display itself. I would love to push the envelope just as RFPL did, and bring the display out from behind the encasing so the patrons can really consume the display from all peripheries; essentially taking it from 2-dimension to 3-dimensional.
Jones, Meg. jsonline. January 09, 2013. http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/river-falls-public-librarys-motorcycle-exhibit-woos-bikers-and-bookish–quietly-l187iru-186251911.html (accessed January 14, 2013).