The evolution of libraries has created a 21st century learning space that is more than books. Libraries are flexible, dynamic, high-tech learning community hubs. Offering services such as art exhibits, book clubs, author readings, computer classes, study groups, 3D Printing, Game stations and school holiday programs.

To create awareness of your library’s programs and services, the key is to merchandise the space using retail visual merchandising principals. The 8 principles of merchandising are:

  • Departmental Display - Display related items together
  • Cross-aisle Merchandising – expose patrons to related items in other sections
  • Vertical merchandising - placing items in a display above and below each other makes it easier for customers to find things they want. 
  • Eye level displays – the best selling area on any display is between the waist and eye level
  • Common sense merchandising –most visible areas get higher priority
  • Group products visually – create colour blocks for a stronger display
  • Make space work – make the area look full of product
  • Identify products – effective point of sale signs

A retail-oriented method for displaying your library collection is about connecting customers to material including the entire environment – signage, seating, display furniture and colour We all like to feel welcome, and with a clean space with well organised areas with comfortable seating this will invite patrons in.

10 Merchandising tips for the 21st Century Library



Have a colour scheme and stick to it. Be careful not to choose a colour scheme that will date quickly.   


Create an impact upon entering your library with a statement piece of furniture.



Flexible furniture is ideal when ever-changing community space (private study to meeting & collaborative spaces)



Make the shelves look full with the use of face out displays



A simple and uncluttered display will create a strong focus point to grab the eye of your patrons. 



An odd number of elements is always more attractive than an even numbers. This is because an asymmetrical display is slightly off balance and keeps the eye moving around to look at each item. 



Refresh your display areas regularly. Even with a simple re-arrangement of books, the display will be fresh for longer.



Patrons will hesitate to take a book in fear of ruining a display. Keep displays appealing and accessible. 



Consider traffic flow when placing large items



Bold, contemporary internal and external signage