This month Snook worked with a range of library staff from across Ayrshire to transform them into Social Librarians. The session kicked off with an experiment involving every librarian calling a library in Scotland to find the answer to their question. Afterwards, everyone wrote 50 things about their experience.

Only three out of eleven participants felt satisfied they had found the answer to their question. This simple challenge revealed library staff do not know the details of their colleagues job roles the way they would like to. It also sparked debates around how well staff are clued up on their own community, and signposting the public to other services and online services.

We explored a range of future scenarios which enabled me to dig deeper into the relationship librarians have with technology. Once we moved past the common myth that technology will ultimately replace humans…

“I’d rather have nothing than something with an out of order sign on it”

It was brilliant to help the team realise that even if libraries weren’t in buildings there would still be a need for their skills and expertise. Fantastic ideas were generated around libraries connecting with their communities, using user profiles and mobile phone apps to reach out to the public.

Of course, you can’t be a Social Librarian without rolling your sleeves up and getting out and about in your local area. Equipped with sweets, clipboards and sharpies off they went…

The results were amazing – everyone came back with lots of stories, photographs and opinions. Sharing these stories led to invaluable discussions around libraries being very poor at self promotion.

“It was daunting at first but once I got out there it was great – so nice to have an excuse to interact with people in this way”

“This is the most interesting thing I’ve done in a long time. I spend so much time in introvert meetings that forget the value of the public facing service we are delivering.”

In just one afternoon, these librarians were able to really push their thinking and perception around the service they deliver. It came across loud and clear they all saw the value of being pushed outside their comfort zone and infact it is only in doing this they are going to get on peoples radars and become part of the community.

Snook have big ideas for the future of libraries and this piece of work has inspired us!  A huge thank you to Jean Inness for inviting us to South Ayrshire Library, you can hear what she has to say in the little video below: