It is coordinated by the Mayo Clinic and groups come from all over to participate. There are about 20-30 booths at this event, with everything from the YMCA to Mary Kay represented. The library has been lucky enough to get invited to this event for the past few years. Around 250-300 people attend each year, and it is a great opportunity to meet new patrons!
I always make sure to have a bright and fun table. The event is located in a Children's Museum, so I'm competing against a lot of background items to grab their attention. I also make sure to have some sort of "giveaway" for parents. Fact– New moms love free things.
This year I brought plastic keys and rubber duckies to hand out. Each had a sticker with our logo and website on them. Truthfully, I found both of the items in the basement (lots of buried treasure down there) and decided I was tired of seeing them every time I went downstairs.
On the table I included some of our alphabet sensory bags we use in storytime, board books, a handout about storytime, and a sign-up sheet for our Baby Book Bees initiative. I also set up a little reading nook in the corner with paperbacks of popular characters for older siblings who were getting bored. I had quite a few parents thank me for this last minute addition.
|They only got the bib if they signed up for Baby Book Bees.|
Once people started showing them off
I had lots of questions about the program!
The main thing I highlight when I talk to people are our storytimes. We offer speciality ones for infants, babies, toddlers, and a family storytime. I also talk about all of the different resources we offer such as DVDs, books, audio books, etc. I encourage expecting moms to use us to read parenting books. You'll only read them once or twice and they're usually $25-$35 each! It's way more cost efficient to get a library card and check the books out from us. I keep our tri-fold pretty sparse and use lots of white space. I usually only have parents for a minute before they walk away, and the pictures always make them stay a little longer.
I love this event because I get to meet potential patrons for the first time, while also seeing some old friendly faces. I always leave this event feeling successful because of the number of people I speak to, but this year the success was even more apparent. We opened up storytime signups the following day and my infant storytime is almost full 2 days into sign-ups! I've never had an infant storytime fill up, so we're all feeling pretty happy about this.
Does your community have an outreach event like this? If not, you should convince your library to organize it. It is a great resource for new parents and it's a wonderful way to reach new patrons!