The Association for Rural and Small Libraries recently held their tenth annual conference. More than 550 librarians gathered to discuss issues and concerns unique to libraries in sparsely populated areas. Next year’s conference will be in Springfield, Illinois.
Posts Tagged ‘community engagement’
As a library, we have been long time supporters of our local food center. However, it wasn’t until the past few years that we actively began to provide programming at the center. It started as one of many places we were looking to try to share information about what the library had to offer, but it turned into something different over time.
The Wichita, Kansas, Public Library has a great idea: if the people won’t come to you, go to the people. Similar in concept to cities that are providing libraries in housing developments, the idea is a simple one. Readers may have forgotten how much they like to read, and just need to be reminded. So twice a month during the summer, a librarian takes a vintage trunk filled with a couple of dozen books down to the Pop-Up Urban Park (downtown Wichita) at lunchtime and offers literature to go with the food truck cuisine.
Public libraries have a tremendous opportunity to supplement STEM programming with the event — before and after.
There are plenty of libraries around the country who are fortunate to be able to provide food to children in need during the summer. However, if your library that isn’t able to, it doesn’t mean you can’t be part of feeding children’s minds while someone else fills their stomachs!
How do you attract more readers to your library? Let them show off their dictionary know-how in a head-to-head spelling competition!
The communities libraries serve are becoming more diverse. In seeking to move beyond the tired label of being “just about books,” libraries must engage with these communities through outreach and engagement.
Thanks to the clear divisions in our country, there has recently been a lot of talk about bringing people together. In the spirit of that call for camaraderie, I’ve been reflecting on the opportunities the library has to partner with others on programs and efforts.
During the last decade, technology has provided us with tremendous individual power, and this has encouraged the development of what is being called the Maker Movement. This movement is having a profound effect upon the manufacturing sector as well as the individual’s ability to explore and share creative ideas using computer-aided design and an online network of collaborators. In response to interest in participating in self-directed projects that utilize digital tools and knowledge, libraries and other community-based organizations have created makerspaces. These facilities provide users with the physical tools and space to pursue their interests and collaborate on projects. Educational research shows that this type of activity can facilitate learning, but little is known about what the users themselves perceive to be the benefits of access to makerspaces. This exploratory study examines users’ perceptions of their experience in public library makerspaces.
It’s November and that means National Novel Writing Month is here again! Participating in National Novel Writing Month, or as it is more commonly known, NaNoWriMo, is a great way for public libraries to support aspiring authors.
Sonoma County Libraries offers fitness and healthy cooking classes in its Healthy Living at your Library series as a way to promote health and fitness literacy. This is a growing trend to look out for!
The library’s reach isn’t limited to just its walls. The library’s reach should extend to the whole community. In a way, the whole community is part of the library: the schools, the civic groups, the offices of local politicians, the senior centers, the playgrounds, and much more.
Every so often a new phrase, buzzword, or philosophy about library service comes along and throws a different light on what we do, and how we do it. There’s been a lot of talk and interest in “the purpose-based library” recently. What’s that all about?
I had an opportunity to speak with Steven Potter, library director and CEO of the Mid-Continent Public Library in Kansas City, Missouri who recently co-authored a book on the subject. The purpose-based library connects with the community, collaborates to better reach goals, measures what is useful and shows value, and continually improves. Summing up, Potter says, “It is all about re-embracing the vitality of our profession.”
When your library has invested much time and money in a particular collection, you hope that your patrons take notice. Over the past four to five years, our cookbook section at Pharr (Texas) Memorial Library has grown tremendously. Unfortunately, the extensive collection circulated poorly. So we decided to roll with what we had and launch our own cooking show titled “Cooking with Ben” (after one of our staff members). Ben volunteered and was the ideal chef for the job. The response has been amazing!
Librarians are natural problem solvers, so engaging with the community and helping to solve real-life community challenges should be an easy fit for us. And for some, it is. For others, who like the safety of the library’s four walls and the status quo of traditional library services, community outreach can be daunting. Rest assured that there are many tools and resources to help you look outward and help make your community better.