This month on the 1091 Project we are talking tours. I recorded eight official tours so far this fiscal year. These included tours for library donors and prospective donors; the Library Council, a group of faculty that meet with the library’s Executive Group during the school year; and most recently to the Alumni Association during the annual Alumni Weekend. That tour consisted of about 20 people, but we have had as much as twice that on large tours.
We also give a lot of informal, spur of the moment tours that don’t make it to the “official” record. These tours are generally for new staff and interns, faculty and visiting scholars, and other interested individuals. This year we gave a tour for artist Bea Nettles, and Henry Wilhelm, of Wilhelm Imaging Research, and John Baty, a conservation scientist. Wilhelm and Baty also toured LSC and DPC.
Tours are an important development tool. They are also a chance to educate people about the work we do, why the work is important and how it relates to the mission of the Library. I love to see people’s faces light up when they realize that you can wash paper or resew a book and make it whole again. Of course the best part is showing off our highly skilled and talented staff.
I know some labs include tours in their yearly stats. I report our big tours in our fiscal year report, but I don’t record every tour we give. I would love to hear your experience with documenting tours and/or how you report tours to your administration in your year-end reports.
Let’s head to Parks Library Preservation to see what they do with tour groups.
4 thoughts on “1091 Project: Secret Lives of Conservation Labs”
I think we try to include most of our tours on our monthly stats, even the unofficial ones. We track number of tours and number of people, but nothing else specifically about the type of tour or how long it lasted.
Have you been able to track any direct result (either gifts or intangible things like praise) from reporting these stats monthly?
Brilliant! I don’t know why I haven’t been reporting these. Looking at my calendar, I see 5 this year, but I think there have been two or three small impromptu tours.
I think it is definitely worth reporting at some level. The do take time and energy, can can be somewhat challenging especially the big tours.
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