A regional chapter of the New York Library Association
Connecting With All of Your Community
Those in attendance were reminded to join SCLA and to check off RASD as part of your membership.
They were also reminded to consider entering one of their public relations campaigns in the second annual SLMA Award contest (rasdpr.wordpress.com).
Andrea Snyder, Outreach Coordinator for Nassau Library System gave a presentation on marketing to all aspects of your community. Andrea grew up in Buffalo and worked in Buffalo and also at Enoch Pratt in Maryland as the Foundation Center Manager and the Job & Career Center Manager.
As we went around the room mentioning some of our successful programs outside of the library, a few caught my attention.
Patchogue/ Medford holds programs at various businesses throughout the community. They use the opportunity to promote the library and to reach patrons they might not normally reach. West Islip has a big Senior Campaign in May where they have giveaways for seniors and a Senior Art Show with a reception. Brentwood has staff members attend local fairs, events, and some healthcare facilities.
Why do outreach?
- To better the community
- To transform community members into library users
- To transform library users into library advocates.
MARKET – OUTREACH – EMBED
Marketing is usually publicity for a campaign, while outreach is usually participating in one event, and embedding is usually a significant partnership with a group.
Do a Kindness Audit
Have an impartial person walk through your library and use your services as though they were a new user and report back on how user friendly it is. How is the signage, how helpful was the staff, and could they find what they were looking for? You should also look at your web site in the same way.
Aim for Success
Start small and target one group at a time. When you go out into the community and attend meetings or visit job fairs, health clinics, hospitals, schools, the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Arts Council, or other community groups, you need to know about everything your library has to offer and have an “elevator speech” for each type of place you visit.
Creating Partnerships with Agencies and Organizations
Make cold calls to groups and organizations. Have an elevator speech ready, then listen, understand and act. Ask them what you can do for them at first in order to establish a relationship, then you can ask them to help the library. Once you establish a relationship, ask if you can display fliers or posters at their institution. Put fliers, posters and brochures where the public goes.
Be funny and creative with signs and on social media. Find someone on your staff that has a strength creating fun and catchy ideas, and enlist them to come up with creative themes and graphics. Make blog and social media posts personal to what patrons need and want (Looking for a job?). Patchogue/Medford has updated their web page and now runs a blog post down the middle. It promotes library programs and community information. It is chatty and informative, (http://www.pmlib.org/).
Some other ideas:
- Have a book club for commuters, and meet near the railroad station.
- House a small collection of books that you do not need to be returned at the railroad station or pool.
- Go to the train station in the morning and do reader’s advisory. Display e-book information at the train station.
- Arlington Public Library has an ongoing writer’s workshop, Shut up and Write. They also have a chatty blog down the middle of their web page. Take a look (http://library.arlingtonva.us/).
- Create coasters with you name and web site. Distribute them to local businesses.
- Have a story time at the beach/pool.
- Visit apartment/condo complexes and sit in the lobby or clubhouse with information about the library.
- Do a multigenerational program (Dr. Who Day or Walking Dead Day or a Minecraft program)
- Use lawn signs.
- Do an altered book drop in craft (make it into a contest).
- Have a hackathon (where people get together to create an app or website that will help the community (this is done more at colleges).
Save the date. The next meeting of the committee will be on June 11th at Half Hollow Hills. It will be a workshop on Search Engine Optimization.