New Eyes

While I was doing some research for an article I’m writing, I came across this popular quote by Marcel Proust:

The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

We talk about seeing with “fresh eyes” or “new eyes.” But how can we do that when we have been in the same field or location for some time? How can we freshen our perspectives?

Here are 4 ideas to get you started:

1. Walk through the front door of your building (not the employee entrance) at least once a week or so. This will let you know what your user/ customers / patrons are seeing when they first step into the building.
2. If your location offers services to children, you need to see things from a kids-eye-view! Don’t hesitate to lean down the height of a child every once in a while. You may see that all of those fun posters or the great book displays you’ve made are too high for a child to even see them.
3. Create a “makeshift reference desk” out of a table and a laptop. Situate yourself right in the middle of a study area or near the front door. Make a simple sign that says something like “Ask me for help” and tape it to the upturned top of your laptop.
4. If you have a couple of digital cameras or a flip video cam, ask a few of your users or new employees to snap images of 5-10 of the most interesting aspects of your location. How can you maximize those aspects (or what they represent)?

So, what are some other ways we can see with new eyes? How do you keep yourself awake, alive and refreshed each day?How about your users? So share.


Note: Marcel Proust is quite a quotable author. Other than that, I’m perfectly OK if you just use copies of his books as bookends.

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