This week the British Museum opens its newly refurbished gallery devoted to the Sutton Hoo treasure and Europe 300-1100 AD. The wonderful jewels and artefacts have been removed from their ill-lit, overcrowded display cases and visitors can now see them in their full glory. There’s even a re-branding exercise going on – the Dark Ages are now referred to as the early Middle Ages or the early medieval period, to make people realise that the Brits didn’t suddenly turn into Barbarians as soon as the Romans left!
You’re probably thinking that the average small public library has little in common with the mighty British Museum, but we do have our treasures and we’re not always very good at presenting and re-branding them. In Sandwell each library has a stock champion who meets the other champions regularly, to come up with and share new ideas for promoting our stock. Recently, Lilah (Langley’s champion) ordered all the old, out of print Marion Chesney books that had been lying in reserve stock for years and created an MC Beaton display. Beaton is the very popular author of the Agatha Raisin and Hamish MacBeth books, but originally she wrote under the name Marion Chesney (her earlier books are now being re-published but many are still only available as e-books). She has re-branded herself as an author and Lilah has unearthed these little treasures. Not quite the famous Sutton Hoo helmet, but an example of how we can offer something slightly different to people.