Randomly select 20 strangers and ask them what they think about their local public library. You’re likely to get 20 different answers, and most of them are probably not what you want to hear. As we think about who we are, what we do and, more importantly, what our brand is, chances are that our customers think we’re about books while we try to convince them that we’re so much more. After all, many of us loan games, do prom dress drives, teach punk-rock aerobics, partner with microbreweries (Edgar Allan Porter, anyone?), and offer 3D printing services. We push the envelope of what we loan and how we program for one reason and one reason only: to get people in the door so that they can discover what we really have to offer — ideas, inspiration, and access.
By Vanessa Craig
Moreno Valley is a city nestled in between the Coachella Valley, Lake Perris, and the San Bernardino Mountains in southern California. The scenic town of Moreno Valley has a public library that serves their population of about 200,000. With only one building to serve its residents, Ivorie Franks, the library’s director struggles with providing a sufficient amount of print material to serve their population.
To save space, Ivorie is attempting to develop a digital collection for her community that replicates the print collection. However, the patrons of Moreno Valley have a variety of different technology skill levels. Many community members do not have computers or internet connection at home.
Ivorie is the driving force behind helping branch tackle this digital divide. She is working alongside her staff to make their patrons more comfortable with technology and eResources. “The key is to include various staff members in the process of educating library patrons about digital library resources,” proposes Ivorie.