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Sunday, April 28, 2013

BCLS Grand Opening

There was a big event in my local library world today: The main building of my county's library system had a Grand Opening celebration.  The Burlington County (NJ) Library System has been around since 1921, but today its staff officially unveiled its new expansion to the public. All the details are here.

My husband and I attended the celebration, and I was, of course, looking at it partially from a marketing point of view. Anytime you have a big event and invite legislators, the press, and the public, your building and your people need to be at their best. You want to have great-looking spaces, plenty of helpful staff to welcome and guide people, good refreshments, photo opps, interesting activities, and info to go. Most importantly, you want to entice visitors to come back again. I think Burlington County Library System (BCLS) did a good job on all counts.

Rather than write about every little detail, I took photos of them and made a Flickr set. You can see the giveaways, the displays, the mascot, the new Teen Zone, the spacious cafe, and more. 
The 250-seat auditorium was empty at the beginning...
... then, an hour later, the stage was set up for a game
show and lots of people was playing along. 

I'll just mention a few specific things that BCLS got right: 
  • Several newspaper reporters and photographers were there.
  • Having Cub Scouts there to raise the flag outside gave the event even more of a community feeling--and brought all their parents, with cameras. Now the library is part of those kids' stories.
  • Everyone loves a good mascot, and BCLS's bright blue Book Buddy was all over the event.
  • There were various activities this afternoon, including a trivia contest in the new auditorium, a make-and-take craft, storytime, a local historian speaking, and of course, guided tours.
  • They also had a "grand opening" of the digital library, which was a room where people were equipped to show visitors how to use ebook hardware, how to download ebooks, and answer tech questions. A cool twist on tech training!

I spoke to the BCLS director for a moment, and she was quick to give lots of credit to the whole staff, who had been working toward this day together. It appeared to me that everything went smoothly, and that the guests of all ages enjoyed themselves. I believe this is the beginning of yet another successful chapter in the life of my area's main library, and I wish everyone there all the best for an exciting future.

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