A few days ago I was flicking through some picture books and I came across one called This is a Serious book which looked fun. In it a whole bunch of creatures are, to the narrator's frustration, are refusing to be serious. The narrator takes them to different places to try to make them serious and quiet. I turn a page and they're at a museum. Uhoh. I turn another page and they go to the library. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
Houston, I think we have a GLAM image problem.
I know some people are wedded - really wedded - to their quiet library space, or their contemplative museum space, and obviously a quiet place to study or fill out forms, or reflect is essential, yet GLAM has so much more to offer these days than quiet and serious.
But old impressions can be pretty strong. A few years ago when I was working as a specialist librarian I didn't use public libraries - I was a compulsive book-buyer. Based on experiences as a child I was worried that the stock would be old and icky and not change. However, when I moved to the other side of the world one of the first things I did was join the public library. Yes, I had designs on working there, but I realised that it was a place I could go, without having to spend money or feel awkward - and there was a lovely variety of shiny, interesting books.
So I guess it's always worth taking another look at something you might not think you're keen on. Just because you've had one bad experience with a Cliff Richard book in a youth section doesn't mean all youth areas are going to be like that. GLAM services are changing and developing all the time - probabaly faster now than ever before. As GLAM professionals we need to lead the way in putting aside preconceptions and giving something different a go.
Image from Flickr