Work Like a Patron Day

Megan Hartline —  October 11, 2013 — 3 Comments

Every October, my favorite holiday rolls around. No, not the one with pumpkins and ghouls, the other one: Work Like a Patron Day!

photo of librarian using a computer at a study table

Perfecting my patron costume and hunting for an outlet

The Swiss Army Librarian blogged about jumping over to the other side of the desk back in 2011, and I fell in love with the idea. For one day, you try to accomplish your daily job while using the public entrance, sitting at the open tables, and maybe even (gasp) using the public wifi.

Let’s be real: working like a patron sounds like a roadblock to getting your job done. You can’t be sure of finding an outlet for your laptop; you might need to talk to someone privately; and that wifi signal just might go down.

These are the very same challenges our patrons face when using our facilities, and every inconvenience of participating in Work Like a Patron Day is an opportunity to identify potential improvements.

Realizing that there are few public places in your library to talk privately means you’ve just experienced the pain of a tutor with a literacy learner who prefers discretion. Walking all the way from the parking lot to the public entrance means you’ve just passed through same barriers as a user with physical challenges.

Work Like a Patron Day rolls around 6 months after National Library Week, so it falls on October 16 this year.  Who’s with me, LL&Fers?

Megan Hartline


Megan Hartline (@awrybrarian on Twitter) is a librarian in Denver, Colorado. In addition to librarianship, Megan's background is in nonprofit leadership. She would love to visit your library to talk about management, workflows, or customer service.

3 responses to Work Like a Patron Day


    Excellent advice and something every library employee should try at least once. Using the public restrooms is also an eye-opener.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. In the Trenches | Library Lost & Found - February 12, 2014

    […] *Take it one step further! Work like a patron! […]

  2. 4 Ways to See Your Library from a Patron’s Perspective « Library Lost & Found - October 13, 2016

    […] other ideas have you found to be effective in maintaining an outsider’s perspective for your […]

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