Public Speaking
& Workshops

Dynamic and engaging, Kevin Hennah’s presentations are a visual feast of images. Showcasing both new libraries and makeovers achieved with his support.

More than just theory, all presentations have an emphasis on practical application and ideas are reinforced with impressive usage stats from libraries that have actioned Kevin’s advice. Whether planning a conference or professional development day, timing and content can be tailored around your needs.

“I’m horrified by the idea that somebody might look at their watch during my presentation, so I’m committed to delivering presentations that are not just fast-paced and informative, but fun and inspirational. Most importantly, I want everybody to leave with an overwhelming sense of excitement for the positive changes that are within their reach as innovation doesn’t hinge solely on budget”
- Kevin hennah

(NEW) INSPIRED LIBRARIES: A Design & Reinvigoration Showcase

Refurbishing, planning a new library or self-managing a budget reinvigoration need not be a daunting task – providing you are well informed and develop detailed plans.

Drawing on his experience consulting to over 2,000 libraries internationally, Kevin Hennah presents a showcase of best practice in library design, layout, signage, seating and visual merchandising strategy.

Included are hundreds of impressive photographs of projects at all budget levels and a showcase of innovative product samples to review and explore.

Whether you’re planning a new project or simply seeking inspiration, this creative workshop is designed to leave you feeling confident about creating a future focused space.


2024 Australian Dates

Melbourne: 31st May | Quay West Suites, CBD

Brisbane: 7th June | Four Points by Sheraton, CBD

Sydney: 12th June | Fraser Suites, CBD

Adelaide: 28th August | Peppers Weymouth Hotel, CBD

Perth: 30th August | Fraser Suites East Perth

Maintaining Relevant Libraries Workshop

Fusing his bigger-picture vision for libraries with inspiration drawn from retail, art galleries, museums and other cultural hubs, Kevin Hennah highlights why we must look outside our industry to drive innovation.

Exploring layout, genrefication, promotion, signage people spaces and overall image, this session is loaded with impressive,  yet achievable cutting edge initiatives that can be self-managed.

 As the same suggests, content is designed to challenge traditional thinking and importantly, highlight that creativity can be more powerful than funding! 

On site delivery

Gather your team or invite neighbouring libraries to share the cost of this dynamic workshop that include hundreds of inspirational photographic images Kevin Hennah has taken at libraries across Europe, The USA, The UAE, Asia and Australia. 

Timing and content can be tailored to your needs.

Contact Kevin for more information or to have him present at your conference.

Online Learning 2024 (via Zoom)

Drawing on his experience consulting to over 2000 libraries Internationally, Kevin Hennah presents a suite of three online workshops twice annually:

On site delivery also available.

Genrefication Showcase |  10th May 2024

Implementing a genre-based layout may be a powerful way to build loan stats and bolster the relevance of libraries. Kevin Hennah strongly believes this is so and his results back up his ideas. Impressive photographs from libraries that have implemented Kevin’s advice will be coupled with equally impressive usage stats and practical advice that may inspire you to reinvent your collection.

Innovative Library Layout & Signage |  17th May 2024

There’s simply nothing engaging about about an aisle! Join Kevin Hennah as he challenges traditional ideas on library layout and presents innovative visual merchandising strategies for physical collections and how to tailor seating solutions to current and emerging needs in both public libraries and education.

High Impact, Low Budget Makeovers | 24th May 2024

Innovation is not dependant on a generous funding! Kevin Hennah demonstrates this with sophisticated and highly creative ideas for display and interior decoration which draw inspiration from retail, museums and art galleries highlighting that there is much to gain when looking outside our industry for inspiration.

Kevin’s thoughts

Many libraries have failed to develop a visual merchandising strategy to help print compete with new technologies and usage stats have suffered as a result. It’s easy to attribute the downturn in loans to new technologies, but I’d suggest that  the visual merchandising strategy in many libraries plays an equal role.

If a book retailer were to adopt the ideas applied in many libraries they’d go broke!

Technology is constantly evolving and for the most part this is driven by external influences;  constant software updates,  maintaining current hardware. But who drives innovation in the  display and marketing of physical resources?  This must happen at ground level, within each library. Defaulting to traditional ideas has long lost relevance.

In the design and renovation process, much effort is invested in architecture and interior design. Of course this is  important, however it is easy to unknowingly  create a contemporary veneer around traditional and outdated ideas. A impressive library is not just architecture and decor – that’s an impressive building. An impressive library should be measured by what you achieve with collection and the unique people spaces you create.

In education, I have met with countless people who question whether Non Fiction (in print) has lost relevance. These schools have keep abreast of developments in technology over the past 20 years. However, during this time, the faded, poorly weeded Non Fiction collection has remained on tall, dated shelving arranged in narrow isles to the rear of the room.

Rarely is a book displayed face-out and little or no innovative signage solutions have been developed to help print compete with online resources. There’s really no more they could have done to make the collection look less appealing!

It’s probably timely to emphasise that I am a keen supporter of online resources and new technologies, as well as proactive weeding of the print collection. However,  we cannot make an informed judgment on the potential of books until we create a level playing ground between print and new technologies.

I am concerned about some Public Libraries that rely heavily on the Internet to maintain customer numbers. Free access is no longer a point of difference in many communities, so the strategy is loosing relevance.

Whilst many Public Libraries enjoy strong  usage stats from DVD, they too will inevitably loose appeal due to improved and cheaper streaming. Now is the time to nurture other other parts of the product offering to fill the void that will inevitably be created.

A contemporary library should be set up as the community’s shared living room – cleverly selected furniture is at  the foundation of this advice.

Use seating as a marketing tool by creating innovative spaces for meetings, independent and collaborative work and leisure. In education,  using seating to create  a point of difference over classrooms is fundamental to maintaining relevance.

When building or renovating Public Libraries, consider opportunities to benefit from traffic generated by council services that share the building. Become a destination. If deemed viable, incorporate a café, art space, garden area or small business incubator into new branches.

Attracting a younger audience into Public Libraries is too complex to address in a paragraph. I must however stress that image drives perception and the solution is much bigger picture than simply creating a teen zone – a concept I find quite dated. The marketing strategy, resources and overall image need to be relevant.

In education, I have observed many libraries renamed Learning Commons or alike as a strategy to remain relevant. This often comes without significant cultural change. In most instances, I see this name change as an example of not ‘walking the talk’.

I’m a change advocate, though I don’t see any value in throwing away the Library brand. The concept of a library is not dated –  phenomenally successful, Netflix is a library!

Investing in RFID and self-check technology and maintaining a traditional style circulation desk alongside new technology is almost like saying “don’t bother” to the customer.

I believe there should be a level of uniformity across a library network. Particularly a Public Library Service. l support tailoring the design, décor and collection to branch-based demographic.

Take a uniform approach to all signage and print collateral. It not only looks professional, but also helps build presence in the community and reinforces a group of libraries work together. This is a fundamental principal of marketing and promotion.

I understand there is more to a library than loan stats, however it is important not to discount the relevance of these as a benchmark. To this end, I ask all libraries, “what would you change about your library if you were to receive a dollar in your personal bank account for every item borrowed”?

Frequently, I note the implementation of Maker Spaces in libraries is less impressive than the colourful words that surround it’s description.

I am more excited by the Making initiatives that can be put in place than the compartmentalised approach to creating the physical space.

Never allow a lack of funding to hold you back as you do not need to spend a lot to make a difference!