Gratitude Graffiti in Skokie, Illinois

Sometimes we find The Gratitude Graffiti Project through a simple google search. Turns out that for National Library Week last year, the librarians at the Skokie Public Library brought The Gratitude Graffiti Project there and the patrons were so enthusiastic for a chance to express their gratitude to the staff at the Skokie Public Library, for the space and for the great services and books they have available.

Here’s a quote from the website, The Show Me Librarian:

“To say we were blown away by the enthusiasm and responses we received is accurate. Patrons were consistently thrilled to have a chance to share a bit about what they love at their library.

We had community college students who excitedly took a break from their quiet study on the second floor to doodle and say “thank you” for the consistent and comfortable space.

We had teens who got into deep conversation about gratitude following the prompt of sharing on the board.

We had a teen at an author visit express her appreciation for the fact that she can always find books with girls like her–from biracial backgrounds–at our library.

We had school-age kids happy to state the activities they love having available to them at the library: science, art, reading, friendships…

We even had a three-year-old storytime regular who was so excited to share what she loves about the library, she wrote her first letter ever on the gratitude graffiti board. That’s huge.

That’s what the library can inspire in the people who visit.

So here is my takeaway, and my challenge and question to others: We know, anecdotally, that the library is a place that is valued and appreciated in the community, but we don’t always give our patrons opportunities to express that value and appreciation. Comment cards tend to end up about complaints, but we don’t always have great methods for capturing the good and the positive impacts the library has. Then, with a relatively low-stakes initiative like the Gratitude Graffiti project, we get to see not only what we add to peoples’ lives, but we can see that they’re thrilled to share their appreciation with us. It’s like they’ve been waiting to share their feelings but never found the right moment until we asked.

How do you ask? How do you give your patrons opportunities to share beyond the everyday options? Because if there’s one big thing we learned during our Gratitude Graffiti Project for National Library Week, it’s that patrons are as happy to give gratitude as we are to receive it.”

Thank you to Amy Koester for sharing your experience and we look forward to joining us again on the journey! So glad you got so much out of it. Keep doing the great work you do.

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