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Believing in Library Magic at PLA 2024

by Lauren Davidson, Bilingual Librarian, Lewisville (TX) Public Library, PLA 2024 Scholarship Recipient on May 29, 2024

As a fairly new librarian, I was given the opportunity to go to the PLA 2024 conference through a scholarship provided by the Public Library Association. Attending this event at the start of my career is immensely beneficial, providing me with a strong foundation to become an excellent librarian.

I had the pleasure of attending a workshop on ‘Take Your Child to the Library Day (TYCLD).’ This presentation reminded us all why we became librarians: we believe in the magic of libraries and want our patrons to experience it too. Many people are unaware of the benefits of using the library, so while it’s essential to create programs for our regular patrons, it’s equally important to develop initiatives that attract new visitors. By doing so, we can hopefully turn these new faces into regular patrons as well.

‘Take Your Child to the Library Day (TYCLD)’ takes place annually on the first Saturday in February, or any time in February, with the goal of encouraging families to visit the library by dedicating extra time and resources to make it a particularly special day. While the library is a fantastic destination every day, not everyone has the time, ability, or knowledge to visit regularly. By creating an exceptional day, we invite the community to recognize that the library is here for them and has much to offer. Even if some people visit only for that one day, it still means they have benefited from the library, if only for a brief moment. Programs like TYCLD not only serve our regular patrons but also attract individuals who may have never set foot in the library, encouraging them to explore and discover the resources available.

The workshop reminded me that as library employees, we hold the crucial responsibility of being the library’s most passionate advocates. We dedicate ourselves daily to creating this valuable space, and it’s essential that people know about and utilize it. Many are unaware of what the library offers unless we actively show them. This workshop excelled in demonstrating effective ways to promote programs like TYCLD and provided valuable insights on how I can enhance the promotion of all library services. The presenters also emphasized that what works for one library may not work for all, highlighting the need for tailored approaches.

The presenters emphasized the importance of forming partnerships with the community and seeking their input and assistance with events and their promotion. Collaboration ensures that no one has to manage everything alone; we advocate for the community, and we want the community to advocate for us. These partnerships not only extend our reach to new audiences but also provide broader support.

After the event, it’s crucial to thank participants, request feedback, celebrate accomplishments, and maintain the connections established. While my library already hosts significant events like Día de los Niños, summer kick-off parties, and Star Wars Reads Day, there’s always room for more. Every program is an opportunity to advocate for our library and create that special library magic.

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