Outreach Librarian Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota
Background: Pop-up libraries have been a trending form of outreach for public and academic libraries the past several years but are still a novel concept in clinical and hospital settings. Engaging with healthcare staff in common spaces with an inviting temporary display provides an opportunity to proactively raise awareness of library resources and services to nontraditional users while also piquing interest in a timely topic or special theme. We describe how a pop-up library was devised and implemented as a unique form of outreach at a main campus of an academic medical center.
Description: While spontaneity is an outwardly appealing feature of a pop-up library, a key step involves thorough planning. To reach diverse staff, various high-traffic locations were identified and enticing exhibit items were gathered. Florence Nightingale was selected as the theme for our pop-up library trial to celebrate the 200th anniversary of her birth in 2020 and educate staff about her enduring legacy on modern healthcare. The display includes relevant books and DVDs from the collection, a life-size cut out of Florence Nightingale, a poster highlighting her significant achievements, customized giveaway bookmarks, brochures, interactive trivia combined with an evaluation survey to measure overall impact, a prize-drawing and a laptop for live demonstrations. Two librarians managed the mobile display during busy lunch hours on scheduled dates in early 2020.
Conclusion: Our goal was to learn if a pop-up library is successful in promoting the library to hospital and clinical employees who may not use traditional library spaces or even the library website. Using simple evaluation methods, we tracked the number of meaningful interactions at the pop-up display and assessed whether participants gained new information about resources and services offered by the library. Though the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted a number of events, we interacted with over 200 employees during 10 pop-up displays and perceived this method of outreach to be effective for increasing library exposure and visibility.