April 19, 2018

Jenny LaPerriere | Movers & Shakers 2007

The Big Wow


Jenny LaPerriere knew nothing about ‘merchandising’ a library until she was assigned to test the concept at the Schlessman Branch of the Denver Public Library. She not only discovered her innate talent for it, she found it was ‘totally fun!’ Her library became one more outlet for a passion for design and color that has her husband joking, ‘We live in a bag of Skittles.’

LaPerriere also found that merchandising worked. Her medium-sized branch consistently has higher circulation than any branch except the much larger central library. In a presentation called ‘Work It, Baby! Merchandising To Increase Circulation,’ she tells librarians why and how to merchandise their collections. (She’s also coauthoring a book on the subject.)

Why? Because 60 percent of library customers find what they want by browsing. Eye-catching, frequently changed themed displays induce customers to come inside. They entertain them, help them discover both new and older titles that interest them, and keep them coming back for more.

LaPerriere’s merchandising techniques include tie-ins to current events, popular culture, and community and regional interests and point-of-checkout displays that keep customers shopping even as they’re preparing to leave.

LaPerriere has made believers of her staff, who’ve seen that ‘even a small, older collection will circulate well if you do simple things like facing books out or grouping themed books together with a sign and a prop.’ Her goal, says LaPerriere, is to ‘make a statement, a big wow!’




CURRENT POSITION Senior Librarian, Schlessman Family Branch, Denver Public Library

DEGREES MLIS, University of Rhode Island, 1993

PRESENTATION www.cal-webs.org/handouts05/WorkItBaby.pdf

COLOR-COORDINATED ‘Life is too short for brown, black, and beige’