| By Brian Risse, Vice President, Public Library, Wholesale, and Large Print Sales |
As I think about the impact that libraries have on the community, it’s hard not to reflect on the 2018 federal budget that proposed to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the advocacy efforts needed to defend it. Gale, in partnership with the American Library Association and industry organizations, urged libraries to help in the fight to maintain federal funding by writing their representatives and sharing their stories. While there have been some great strides to date, the fight is far from over and connecting libraries to the community is more important than ever.
Defending the value of libraries in response to the proposed IMLS cuts was a defining moment for our industry. This effort illustrated that public libraries need to be highly visible in the community. In essence, they need to make the news rather than merely making the news accessible to their library customers. So how is that accomplished? At Gale, we have an impact mindset in which relevance, awareness, and results are three key factors.
First, let me touch on relevance. In this issue of IMPACT, you’ll find several editorials from our colleagues at public libraries across the U.S. These individuals talk about programs that are effective in their community. Whether the area of interest is economic development, early literacy, entrepreneurship, career training, or others, the programs and services need to resonate with the communities they serve.
That leads us to the second component, awareness. For example, one of the programs Gale offers, Career Online High School, enables libraries to deliver accredited high school diplomas and career training to adults. The motivating stories of the graduates have attracted attention from the national media as well as in the communities where the program is offered. Positive publicity like this helps to build awareness of what we already know—libraries are necessary and valuable institutions.
Last, but certainly not least, is the effectiveness of the program—is it delivering measurable results? Analytics On Demand provides valuable insight by helping you to identify who in your community most likely would benefit from a specific service and enables you to connect with them. This insight helps libraries like yours make more informed decisions on where and how to use your resources.
The library landscape is evolving at a rapid pace. While we can’t and won’t try to be everything to your library, we’re focused on providing resources that can help libraries connect with communities in ways that are truly meaningful and memorable.