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December 06, 2010


Joe Grobelny

I disagree that in order for a person to deepen their relationship with us that they need to move up your pyramid. Moving up the pyramid is what we need them to do for us, not what they need us to do for them.

At the Newberry, there was an elderly gentleman who came in for one book only: Don Quixote. Not just any copy, but the one we had on hold for him. Sometimes people have only one need, and meeting that one need well is more important than trying to upsell ourselves to patrons because we want them to.


Thanks for disagreeing. I didn't say this is in stone-- just what I have been noticing with typical patrons. Obviously there will be exceptions -- and patrons won't follow this exact order nor will their experience at all levels be equal (in terms of time or depth, etc) -- with your gentleman-- maybe he jumps from collection to advocate (if he was happy with your service) and later in life a benefactor (partner) in some degree.

Thanks for reading-- just dusting of the blog and trying to get some ideas out there. Let me put this another way-- there are patrons out there who "love" their library-- what path of experiences do they have that lead to such affection?


I understand what Joe is saying. At the reference desk I'll occasionally have a student, like today, who is coming in for research help, but says they've never used the library before. It happens - and that's our chance to get them on the pyramid - at some stage. But I tend to agree with Brian that the vast majority of our students start out at the bare minimal level of engagement. In fact, I'd add a level below "study space" - something I'd call contact or initial engagement. It might be just walking through the library on the way to something else or just stepping inside to see a friend - not even using any service. But just that initial contact could create a spark..."Hey, it's not so bad in here"..."I didn't realize there were so many computers in here" etc. Did you forget about this DBL post - which discusses the "LADDER of ENGAGEMENT" http://dbl.lishost.org/blog/2010/10/19/if-your-library-closed-tomorrow-would-anyone-miss-it/

brian mathews

Yeah, maybe I should add the "cafe" level-- but you got concept of progressive (maybe not perfectly linear but still progressive) experiences across our product lines.

And hmmm, Ladder of engagement, but have forgotten that one- but you and I think a lot alike about the patron experience.

Joe Grobelny

I see your general points on patron engagement, but my question is, does they pyramid (ladder, etc) reflect what you want to see happen with patrons or does it serve as a model to describe their current behavior? What makes them move up (or down) between levels?


David Snider

If the pyramid is designed to show the patrons committment then it needs to be an inverted structure. The least involvement with staff, i.e., study space, would be represented by the smallest interaction not the most and therefore be a bottom point of the pyramid. This will place advocacy and partnership at the top. Overall I like the thought that went into the design and presentation.



Thanks for posting on this topic! I too was curious about the place attachment that some library users ascribe to library spaces and how this might change over time. So I observed and interviewed students as part of a larger research project (I've presented a few times but have yet to write it up - it's coming). In short, the experience of place is an emergent phenomenon unique to each person; it's hard to understand it as a linear progression. While conceptual models can be useful to flesh these ideas out, the pyramid of engagement doesn't sync with what students told me or what I observed... e.g., the bottom three components (study space, technology, collections) are not mutually exclusive. In addition, depth of attachment did not appear to be linked with multiple or convergent uses. For example, some students ONLY used the library for study space using paper texts and still described it as a place they "loved" or described behaviors that were clearly territorial (e.g., securing "their" spot for hours every day). Sometimes one visit was enough to elicit strong responses! Again, great topic.

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