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 Carrie Stefanski
I learned first-hand that there are more library conversations than the ALA show floor can handle, or maybe I was just high on libraries during the long conference weekend. Either way, the need for libraries followed me on all my ride-share trips around SF. And this made me happy!
Here’s the inside scoop on how the library love spilled out of the conference and into the taxi cabs.
Stop 1: Periodical 15
By Kristina Massari
Public libraries across the country are finding innovative ways to deliver value to their communities, including presenting high school diplomas to adult residents through Career Online High School, an accredited high school completion and career certificate program. Career Online High School is now available at more than a dozen libraries from coast to coast, with several launching this month, and has graduated its first library students.
By Nick Schultz
I’m lucky. Through my role with Gale Customer Care, I have the privilege of providing consultative services to the People’s University – many call this their local library – and the unsung heroes they employ on their journey to the betterment of society. After engaging with public librarians for the better part of two years, I think the following quote highlights the contrast between a librarian’s ideal library patron, Virginia Woolf, to the current reality.
“I ransack public libraries, and find them full of sunk treasure.” -Virginia Woolf
As much of a modernist as Woolf was – I’m sure she’d be shocked to discover the virtual stream of information that exists in today’s world. The truth is most library patrons don’t allocate hours of time to “ransack” a library’s website troving for an online resource treasure chest. In fact, according to a recent study done by Pew 91% of Americans think public libraries are important to their communities, yet 80% of Americans say they don’t know what their library has to offer. Herein lies the challenge. How do libraries market their evolving services to their communities?