“Telling the Library Story”

18 Nov

I had the distinct pleasure to hear Jamie LaRue speak at our chapter conference this morning. As he states, his passion for libraries began at an early age and after becoming a director if the worst library in the state of Colorado transformed the library into the best library in the nation for the population they serve.

Jamie focused specifically on teaching librarians how to tell the library story to encourage library support, specifically for funding. The best part was learning how Jamie was able to get 84% of the county population to own and use public library cards, whereas most libraries have a 35 – 50% of community members own and use their library card.

Public library use its wonderful, but not an indicator of public library support at the polls and that’s where it’s important. So how do we gain support? We reach out to the community, using community leaders (who are strong speakers) to talk to at least five local talks to promote the local library, not by using data, but by telling stories. ROI, program attendance, library card usage, library visits, etc. are not the way to gain support, rather to tell stories that show the impact of libraries in personal lives.

I strongly recommend Jamie LaRue as a speaker for conferences, his information is not only helpful, but accessible for libraries of all sizes. I’m excited to hear more this afternoon!

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