Tag Archives: community

Community Partners for Summer Reading

Chld Paddleboard copyThis year’s summer reading theme of health, wellness, fitness, and sports lends itself particularly well to building community partnerships. Many organizations are already committed to helping the citizens in your community live healthy, active lifestyles.

Here are some local organizations you might have access to in your community: Continue reading

Community Celebrations

Library-logo-blue-outlineOften we assume that everyone in town knows about the library. However, many times people in town don’t know what the library offers beyond books. Sometimes reaching new people requires leaving the library and getting out into the community. Here’s how a few North Dakota libraries have gotten the library involved in local community events:


  • Edna Ralston Library’s chess club participated in the parade for Larimore Days.
  • McVille Community Library hosts an event to kickoff McVille Days, bringing in a special speaker and then serving dessert to celebrate the Library’s anniversary. The Library also holds an ice cream social fundraiser during the McVille Days Car Show. As one of the few places with air conditioning and public restrooms, plus all the McVille High School trophies and class pictures, the Library is a big draw.
McVille's ice cream social for McVille Days

McVille Community Library’s ice cream social for McVille Days


  • Walhalla Public Library held a silent auction during the Walhalla Giant Pumpkin Fest that raised nearly $3,000 for the library.
  • The Heart of America Library in Rugby participated in “Trunk or Treat” for Halloween sponsored by the Rugby Jaycees. They were “Library Lady Bugs” and handed out bookmarks and candy from the librarian’s decorated VW Beetle.
Trunk or Treating in Rugby

Trunk or Treating in Rugby


  • The McVille Community Library participates in Winter Fest, a community celebration held the last Sunday in November to usher in the Christmas season.  The Library hosts a meal, provided by volunteers who love to cook and bake for the Library. The board and volunteers serve the meal, and the Boy Scouts bus tables. There are a variety of events – pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, Bingo, Cookie Walk, Silent Auction – which all take place in the city auditorium above the Library, so it is a great opportunity for the Library to have a fundraiser.

How does your library get involved in the community? Share your stories in the comments!


Pirate for a Day

pirate shipThis week I’m highlighting the “Pirate for a Day” program that the Walhalla Public Library hosted at the end of October. I thought it was such as great idea that I wanted to share it with everyone with the hope that it might be a program you could replicate in your community!

Walhalla citizens Crystal and Dale Anderson organized the “Pirate for a Day” program, which acts as the story time theme for the week, a community event for all ages, and a fundraiser for the library all in one fabulous program! So how exactly does this amazing program work?

  • Have patrons purchase a “treasure map” at the library for $1.00; Walhalla also offered temporary tattoos for $0.25 and eye patches for $0.50.
  • Patrons get the map stamped by local businesses and return it to the library by the deadline to be entered in the prize drawing.
  • Have the deadline for the prize drawing coincide with a pirate-themed story time. (Check out this list of pirate book ideas for your story time!)

The Walhalla Public Library had map available Wednesday through Friday, with the deadline the following Tuesday, but you could adapt the schedule to whatever works for your schedule. Additional preparation on the part of the library would require asking local businesses to participate, making a map, and getting a prize donated.

pirate for a day

Kids dressed up for pirate story time

(For more photos of Pirate for a Day and all of the library’s fall programming, check out the photos in their Fall 2015 Facebook album.)

This type of program is a fun way to get your entire community involved, and perhaps reach community members who may not yet be library patrons. Has your library done any community-wide programs? Share your ideas in the comments!

Book-to-Action Book Club

booktoactionDo you have a library book club ready to break out of a reading rut and expand their horizons? Would you like to attract and engage new patrons with a different kind of book club? The California State Library and the California Center for the Book have put together a toolkit for a Book-to-Action book club model. Using this model, patrons read a book and discuss it, and then go into the community “to put their new-found knowledge into action by engaging in a community service project related to the book’s topic.”

The toolkit provides the following recommendations for choosing a book: Continue reading

Community Tool Box

toolboxWe all want our libraries to be more than just repositories for books – we also want them to be thriving centers in the community. However, it can seem like an overwhelming task to actually develop connections in the community.

That’s where the Community Tool Box can come in handy. Brought to you by the Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas, the Community Tool Box is a “free, online resource for those working to build healthier communities and bring about social change.” It breaks down each step of the process for you.

There is a helpful guide to getting started, outlining the process with links to related resources:

  • Assess
  • Plan
  • Act
  • Evaluate
  • Sustain

The Learn A Skill section can guide you through chapters relevant to exactly what you need assistance with in your community. There are also Toolkits for specific activities, each with an outline and several examples.

These resources are not specifically tailored to libraries; however, if you attended the Summer Summit symposiums this year, you’ll notice that they focus on several topics that were discussed:

What’s going on in your community? What would you like to see happen? Share your stories in the comments!

World Book Night

world book nightWorld Book Night is April 23. First celebrated in 2011, on this day, book lovers go out and share the love of books with non-readers, focusing on adults, by giving away free copies of books. Each year, 25,000 givers are chosen to give away copies of books specially printed World Book Night.

The 2014 books include a variety of books that will appeal to people who might not otherwise pick up a book and read as a leisure activity. Many of your regular patrons will already be familiar with these titles and authors. Even if you are not giving away free copies, you can still use this as an opportunity to reach out to people in your community who aren’t regular library patrons.

While much is written about loving libraries, Sarah Houghton points out at Librarian in Black that what we should be focused on “is how much we in libraries love our communities.” To get started thinking about reaching out to your community, check out Tools for Community Engagement and Innovation from ALA‘s Transforming Libraries.

Where  in your community can you find people who don’t use the library? What are some ways you can reach out to them? Share your ideas in the comments!

Summer Reading Partnership with Your School

child readingLast week I attended the Public Library Association (PLA) conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.  I took a lot of notes, and I wanted to share what I learned at the session called Better Together: Maximizing the Impact of Your Summer Reading Program.

This session, hosted by librarians Faith Brautigam and Denise Raleigh, and elementary school principal Steve Johnson, outlined how the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, Illinois partnered with the local school to increase both enrollment and completion of their summer reading program. It turned into a community-wide summer reading program. Continue reading

Library Tag Sale Fundraising

saleIt’s summer and that means garage sale season! Everyone loves a bargain! Is this an opportunity for your library to do some fundraising? If you don’t have a local thrift shop or a community organized tag sale, you may want to consider trying it out! You probably already get lots of book donations and have experience with book sales, so why not branch out a bit and see if you can raise more money?

Continue reading

Community Service at Your Library

United We Serve

United We Serve is a is a nationwide service initiative to help citizens improve their communities. As we celebrate Independence Day this week, it’s the perfect time to think about making a difference in your community.

Let’s Read, Let’s Move is an initiative specifically focused on addressing summer reading loss and childhood obesity. The initiative provides suggestions for involving your community in engaging children in summer reading and physical activities, along with providing information on healthy food options.

United We Serve provides tool kits to help you start service projects in your community, including one on reading with children, as well as one on starting a  STEM mentoring program. Both would tie in well with summer reading programming.

If you have an idea for your community that the tool kits don’t cover, don’t worry. They have a tool kit specifically designed to help you create your own project. Every community is different, so brainstorm an idea that will make the biggest impact on your neighbors!

Has your library started a service initiative to benefit your community? Share your stories in the comments!

Building Your Base

building your baseDo you want to reach more people in your community to tell them about the services your library offers? Do you want to find new ideas for what else your library could offer to your community? Building Your Base, created by the Mid-Hudson Library System, is “a focused marketing effort on a specific group of people.” It will aid your library in reaching out to groups in your community who aren’t using the library and help turn them into library users and supporters!

The program is comprised of four easy steps:

  • Choose
  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Partner

The site walks you through how to complete each step. However, the site can’t identify what groups are active in your community (though it does provide some ideas). If you don’t know either, you may want to do a community assessment to help you identify key demographics in your community. Visit the Field Services webpage to access our Community Vision and Assessment tool under “Strategic Planning.”

Targeted marketing will help demonstrate the value to the library to specific groups and make a personal connection with the participants. In many cases, you will only need to promote what you are already doing, simply tailoring it to a particular group. Other times, you may work together to develop new programs and build even stronger partnerships!

Has your library successfully partnered with a community group? Share your success stories in the comments!