What is a “Kindness Audit?” According to a blog post from “Mr. Library Dude,” it is an examination of your library to see how kind or welcoming it is for your patrons. As I considered performing a kindness audit for our library, I considered some questions. Is the signage positive? Is the service desk welcoming? Can patrons find their way easily? What obstacles do they encounter? I developed a list of positives and negatives in the hopes that the positives would outweigh the negatives and that the negatives would only provide opportunities for growth and change.
As you read through the list, let me know by commenting if I hit the nail on the head. Would you have anything additional to add?
- One-floor building: staff and materials are only a short distance away.
- Aesthetically pleasing: most of the colors tie in well together; open floor plan, lots of light, art and plants.
- Main desk: near the front entrance, always staffed, reference and circulation assistance.
- Tables: large enough for groups or to spread out all your materials.
- Study Rooms: private study group area, dry-erase boards on the walls.
- Classroom: private study rooms for large groups.
- Snack area: good location for lunch dates, purchasing snacks and drinks, and a microwave is available.
- Moving shelves: great way to conserve space, neat feature not seen often
- Displays: spaces which highlight resources for patrons which are fun, colorful, interesting, entertaining, informative, rotating (monthly)
- Technology: self-checkout machine, copy/scan/film area, computers and laptops
- Set-in entryway: when you walk in some of the spaces are hidden behind you such as the magazine and snack area as well as quiet reading corner.
- Multiple entrances: unless you are coming in from the south, the location of the library is not readily apparent.
- Quiet reading area: dark, out of the way spot, cave-like, poorly decorated
- Main desk: height of the desk blocks off the view of staff to patrons, creates a cage for librarians.
- Study rooms: only four, often single students use it instead of groups, dry erase boards not used
- Temperature: chilly year-round, no ability to adjust
- Signage: locations are not consistent, too high up and out of the way, some rooms are not marked in the north hallway, paper signs show wear and tear quickly, signs are poorly constructed and are often too wordy