Work Like A Patron Day

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"Work Like A Patron" Day is a day dedicated to making library staff more aware of what patrons experience when using the library. On this day, library staff are encouraged to "work like a patron" as possible. This includes:

  • entering and leaving the library through the public entrance (not the staff doors)
  • using the public computers to do your work
  • using only the patron interface for searching your catalog
  • using the library website to locate information
  • using the public printers and photocopiers
  • calling the main number and navigating the phone system
  • using the public restrooms
  • reserving public meeting rooms for meetings
  • reading posted signs to see if they're helpful
  • sitting in the chairs/use the furniture meant for the public
  • paying your library fines (no waiving them the day before!)
  • returning your items in the book drop
  • following all library policies

By experiencing the library from the point of view of our patrons, staff can hopefully both improve the services we offer as well as empathize with patron needs and expectations.

History and Future Days

October 15th, 2008, was chosen to be the first "Work Like A Patron" Day. This date is 6 months after National Library Week (in 2008, April 13-18th). Future WLAP days will always be on the Wednesday of the week 6 months after National Library Week.

Specific Blog Posts/Articles to Check Out

Use the Twitter hashtag #wlap

  • Swiss Army Librarian's "Work Like A Patron" Day The original post calling for the creation of WLAP Day.
  • Walking Paper Adding additional ideas on how library staff can celebrate WLAP Day.
  • Work Like A Patron Day flickr group Add and share your photos to the WLAP Day flickr group to show your support for patrons and to give other librarians ideas for celebrating WLAP Day in their libraries.
  • Work Like A Patron Day Redux A follow-up post on the experiences of the Casa Grande Public Library regarding Work Like a Patron Day.
  • The Palinet Leadership Network:Through Patron's Eyes A summary of posts on the experience of libraries on Work Like a Patron Day.
  • Work Like A Patron Day @ Brock University Library Inspired by Open Shelf’s recent interview with Brian Herzog, we decided to give Work Like A Patron (WLAP) Day a try at our library.
  • Working Like a Patron October 13, 2016 by Kristen Droesch (User Experience department at NYU's Division of Libraries).