A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

Floor Plans Benefit Everyone’s Preparations for Visits

by on December 26, 2012

Features like Google Maps are all about the planning
When I first read the article about museum and libraries adding their floor plans to Google Maps, I had to check and see if my museum and library were part of this mapping zeitgeist. Unfortunately they were not.  However this presented a terrific opportunity to bring this up with the executive team at my institution. This new feature on Google Maps is a sign of the times. Smart phones and/or tablets are ubiquitous and everyone uses them to find information and locations in their everyday life.  Siri answers your questions on IPhones, GPS helps navigate your driving experience, and Google Maps does make everyone’s life easier when going to a new location that you may need to familiarize yourself with before walking in the doors.

My second thought was to check on the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), which I had visited in early September to view the Patti Smith photography exhibition.  I arrived a little later than planned (unfortunately, not atypical for me) and had little time to waste. One of the guards told me I should also check out the ‘on loan’ painting Woman Holding a Balance by Johannes Vermeer.  My friend that I went with had recently written a paper for her art history class on Vermeer and was quite excited to see it.  Our exploring hither and thither did not produce the result of finding said painting, and so we had to ask a guard for help.  It occurred to me when reading this blog, that this feature would have been great for me.  The staff at the DIA were wonderful and pointed me in the right direction, but it would have been great to also have an idea of where I was going before I even stepped into the museum.  Features like this, are all about planning; literally, “mapping” out where you are going in said museum, airport, library, etc…

Museum website features that are similar to Google Maps
My museum recently installed four new exhibitions.  Part of the prep work was to redo our physical copies of the floor plans which are available at any information stand,. The new floor plans clearly map out not only where our permanent collection is held, but also highlights where the new exhibitions are.  Also, our floor plan is available online through our website, so a patron could in fact look up our floor plan online.  Another feature that my museum offers which is related to Google Maps is a mobile app (http://www.toledomuseum.org/visit/mobileapp/) which allows users to take a tour of the Welles Sculpture Garden, as well as keep up-to-date on what’s happening at the Museum.

Google Maps and features like it are not only convenient, but compulsory in today’s fast-paced and technologically vanguard world.  People rely on these features to organize and streamline their day and their lives.  It is our job, as institutions to acknowledge these de rigueur needs and accommodate the public.