What exactly does the term “outreach” mean in the library eld? Outreach represents different services libraries might offer— programming, homebound deliveries, bookmobiles, volunteering, community events—as well as collaboration with schools, Spanish speakers, the homeless, the LGBT community, hospitals, senior facilities, and correctional facilities. When I accepted the position of outreach services librarian at the St. Charles (IL) Public Library District (SCPLD) in February 2015, I did not grasp what outreach fully meant or truly appreciate what an exciting field of librarianship I was entering. Not all libraries have dedicated outreach librarians or departments. So why should libraries become more aware of outreach services?
Posts Tagged ‘outreach services’
Public libraries, as part of their public service and outreach initiatives, regularly reach out to the prison community to help reintegrate and reinvigorate the incarcerated, hoping to also lessen the chance of recidivism. The Brooklyn Public Library has taken the matter one step further by opening up a video visitation center in its central location for families of the imprisoned to communicate with each other for free.
As we strive to serve every member of the community, especially our YA patrons, public librarians may be looking to learn a bit more about a particularly marginalized group, transgender youth. Transgender youth, defined as those who do not conform to prevalent gender norms, can be an overlooked segment of the LGBT community. As society becomes more accepting of LGBT issues, transgender youth are also increasingly more comfortable being open about who they are. However, despite recent societal inroads, trans youth are at increased risk for being ostracized, as well as physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. Currently, 41 percent of trans people attempt suicide, according to the University of California Los Angeles, School of Law’s Williams Institute.1
The New Port Richey (Florida) Library enriches its customers’ minds and bellies with delicious and healthy food at its weekly farmers market.
Libraries transform not just by functioning as community centers but also through stepping outside the boundaries of the physical space and joining commuters on their journeys to and from work and travel. The Toronto Public Library is jumping on the bandwagon and is working on transforming its own community by adding a book-lending kiosk in one of its busiest train stations.
The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Libraries (CH-UHL) of Ohio are part of a small movement with big potential: Little Free Libraries (4). Little Free Libraries are small, dollhouse-like structures containing books for people to borrow or exchange. People can take a book and bring another book to replace it, or just return it. The Little Libraries are located on yards, tree lawns, and street corners. The project helps to promote reading and literacy among the community members. It is also another way of providing outreach services. I wanted to find out about the CH-UHL Little Free Libraries…