Advantages of Displaying Books Face-Out — and How to Do More of It in Your Library

Libraries today face an interesting dilemma: finding the balance between offering as many books as possible and enticing more readers to pick them up and borrow them. Traditionally, libraries have displayed the vast majority of their books with their spines facing out on the shelves. Not only does this technique save space, but it also makes it easier for the librarians to catalog the books as well as library patrons seeking a specific book by its call number.

However, more libraries today are making a point of using front-face shelving to display more of their books face-out. Those who do so are seeing a great deal more engagement from their visitors, and as a result, they invariably see more people borrowing books. Let’s discuss a few of the advantages of this type of display and talk about some creative ways you can adapt your library floor space to show more of your books face-out.

Benefits of Face-Out Displays

Displaying books by their front covers affords many advantages both to libraries and their readers. Let’s look at just a few:

It generates more attention and interest.
Studies show that people are significantly more likely to pick up a book based on its cover than by its title–and if they pick it up, they’re more likely to borrow it.
library book 2It encourages children to read.
If the average adult is more likely to be attracted to a book’s cover…multiply that ten-fold for children. Kids are highly visual, and showing them the book cover will make them more likely to pick up the book and look through it. (This is why face-out displays are especially useful in the children’s section.)
library book 3It encourages browsing.
Face-out displays make it easy for people to casually browse through titles and genres they may not have considered before. Those who browse are also more likely to linger in the library and read.
library book 4It helps you showcase new titles.
Displaying newer and popular titles in the spotlight can attract more attention to them and help generate interest in reading them. Additionally, some people will come to the library specifically looking for the hottest new books, and a front-facing display will help them be found more easily.
library book 5It creates a warmer, more personable experience for readers.
When people see more of the books on the shelves, it gives the impression that the library is tailored specifically to them and their interests. It makes the library feel less like a library and more like a bookstore. This can encourage people to visit the library more often and even become regular patrons.

Tips for Displaying More Books Face-Out in Your Library

Now that we’ve looked at the advantages of displaying books face-out, let’s talk about some practical ways to integrate more face-out book displays in your library.

Assess your space.
Take a look at your library’s floor plan and see where you could feasibly place some face-out shelving. You might be surprised at how you can creatively repurpose your space when you prioritize this mode of display.
Create kiosk-like displays in open areas.
If you have a lot of open space in the center of your library, this is a great opportunity to install some new shelving specifically designed for face-out book displays. Tiered, tapered, and “cake” display shelves can be quite useful for spotlighting books you want visitors to notice.
Make use of endcap displays.
Endcaps are a great way to integrate front-face displays without sacrificing shelf space–and many end panels are specifically designed with extra face-out shelves for just this purpose.
Add browsing boxes to your existing shelves.
Browsing boxes are designed to hold layers of outward-facing books similarly to how record stores display their vinyl records. These displays allow patrons to thumb through lots of books easily–and they allow you to display more books face-out without sacrificing too much shelf space.

At Creative Library Concepts, we specialize in creative solutions for libraries of all sizes and types. To learn more about how we can help you integrate more face-out displays in your library, contact us today.

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