Middle School Open House

18 Sep

Last night, I took my cart of materials and set up a table at the middle school with the school librarian for Open House.  We have four elementary school, a middle school and high school and a K-8 Catholic school in our service area and are always looking for ways to partner with the schools.  We especially thought it was important to stop by the middle school this year as there is a new superintendent for the school district as well as a new principal and vice principal at the middle school.  We wanted to show the administration that we value our partnership and are there to help.

Overall, the evening was fairly well attended, but because there is so much the parents need to do that evening – meet with teachers, set up online accounts to view grades, buy gym uniforms, etc.  We rarely had people stop at our table, except to ask for directions or for other information.  We started joking with parents that as librarians it’s our job to provide them with a well-researched and correct answer.  And we could usually do that!  I figure a positive interaction is better than no interaction!

Most of the people who stopped at our table (who didn’t need directions) were families who I see on a regular basis in the library, stopping to say hello – which is great, but my main goal for being there is to get to those families who aren’t familiar with our resources.  The middle school students do receive iPads for class instruction and homework and the librarians encourage all the students to get their library cards to partake in OverDrive to read e-books.  This has definitely helped and having September be library card sign-up month as well is a nice draw.

But even last night I had a dad ask how much it cost for a library card!  This breaks my heart, it means we have people in our community who don’t know how awesome our library is, how many amazing programs we offer for all ages, and how many resources they can use for recreation and education.  I believe this issue is two-fold.  On the one hand, we clearly need to be creating more marketing toward people in our community who are not familiar with our library, which means finding where these people live, work and play and reach out to them in these places.  On the other hand, we have a number of community members who move here from other countries where a public library is not the same thing as it is here.  So again, we need to educate people on what a public library is and what it can do for them.  We’ve got a lot of work to do!

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