Monday, March 18, 2013

Making Community Connections

Last week, I received a call from a local organization who finds housing for single or expecting mothers. The contact had just started working there and was going through all of the information they gave to their clients. She informed me that the library information was from the early 90's! Her exact words were "it's kind of yellowing". Needless to say, I knew this needed to be fixed.

My assembly line of information.
 
We sent them packets including a library card registration, 1000 books before Kindergarten information, a general library brochure, and a booklist for new or expecting mothers. Other than the booklist, everything already existed and simply needed to be printed. Even though the booklist was created, it only took about two hours and has a multitude of uses in the future.

The total time spent updating the information, printing things out, and making packets was around 4 hours. To renew a community connection and potentially reach 50+ new mothers, the time spent was well worth it. Plus, the groundwork is laid for any future outreach for new or expecting mothers.

Outreach is vital to libraries. If you are not promoting yourself in the community, you are doing both your library and your community a disservice. You will always have those families that come to the library no matter what. The families that went to the library as a child and are now continuing the tradition. However, there are so many adults that were not regular library users in their lives. By promoting the library and all of the services you offer, you have the potential to reach a patron base that never would have stepped in your doors.

As a library, you should be a destination in your community. If your budget is getting slashed, you need your community to support you and advocate for you. If your budget is still slashed, you might need your community to both advocate and donate. Don't wait until you are about to lose your staffing/hours/book budget to promote yourself in the community. If you are already a community staple,you will be much harder to lose in their eyes. So, what are you doing to promote your library in your community? Could you be doing more?

Also, read this by The Magpie Librarian and go write an email about NYC libraries. Five minutes of your day could make a difference to millions.

4 comments:

  1. Just sent an email to the Mayor!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a great partnership to establish -- which illustrates your larger point so well!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! They are such a valuable resource to the community and I'm hoping to really establish a better partnership in the years to come.

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