I was recently at the University of Virginia for a week, taking a class at the UVa-hosted Rare Book School. Much of that time, I spent in various of the university libraries, and I was quite impressed by the service-oriented, friendly yet professional, and how can I say, fun and cool atmosphere. I mean, cafe space over much of the main Alderman Library’s big front lobby, with comfortable armchairs — I’d be owning one of those armchairs. Helpful staff set me up with borrowing privileges for the week. Ample computer facilities, set up for what you want to use: check. (many in the main lobby: I’d be owning one of those too).
But what I liked most of all, and what stays with me, is the most excellent print material done by the UVa Libraries Communications & Publications department. I admit, I am a brochure-taker; I am one of those print predators who sniffs a brochure rack at 2000 yards and hones in for a kill. But discernment, too, was rewarded. Consider the lovely library annual report:
The general “Welcome to the University of Virginia Library” brochure starts thus:
“Hello. Welcome to the University of Virginia. We hope that your time here is both fun and productive. The University Library is here to help, so pelase let us know what you need and we’ll do our best to provide it for you.”
How great, right-on, and yet uncommon is that succinct vision-statement-in-the-form-of-a welcome?
Finally, below is from a nice spread in the annual report: