This 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
Earlier in August I presented on the topic of community partnerships at our annual Summer Summit workshops, so I thought I’d highlight a few of the resources I covered for those who were unable to attend. At the workshops, Mary discussed community engagement and the report “Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries” from The Aspen Institute. I focused on the first “Strategy for Success” from the report, which is “Aligning library services in support of community goals.”
In order to identify community goals, it’s helpful to get out into the community and talk to other organizations because “libraries that are valued by their communities involve the people, local groups and government agencies in developing services and programs.” This isn’t something you just add to your list of things to do. It’s a crucial task that must be incorporated into your broader strategic plan. If you missed our Summer Summit on strategic planning, you can still access the resources to help you get started. Continue reading
We 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:
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!
Have you been looking for ways to connect with library patrons who have young children? Have you been looking for ways to reach parents of young children who are not already library users? Beanstack may be the perfect solution for your library!
Beanstack is a service provided by Zoobean that recommends books to parents for children specifically from birth to 8 years old. Parents sign up for an account using an email address (no library card required) and then set up a profile for each of their children, indicating each child’s age, interests, and reading level. Beanstack then emails the parent with a personalized book recommendation for each child on a weekly basis. Each recommendation can be linked to your catalog if you own the book. While Beanstack has compiled a list of recommended books, you and your staff can add books to the list as well, if you do not own the titles Beanstack recommends, or if you simply want to supplement their recommendations. There are also themed learning guides which provide suggested activities, discussion starters, and multimedia resources. Themed learning guides are accessed with a library card number, thus drawing in parents who don’t yet have a library card.
While there is no cost to parents to use this service, the library purchases accounts on their behalf at $1 per account annually, in groups of 500 accounts. More accounts can be added at any time. In partnership with the State Library, Zoobean has offered to waive the set up fee for North Dakota libraries that sign up for Beanstack by October 30.
Zoobean was founded by Jordan Lloyd Bookey, Google’s former Head of K-12 Education, and Felix Brandon Lloyd, Washington D.C.’s Teacher of the Year for 2000-2001, when they became parents themselves. For more information on working with Zoobean, please contact Felix at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last 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
Do 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:
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!