Tag Archives: outreach

AtoZ Blogging Challenge – (Book) Discussions

4 Apr

book-book-bindings-books-768125.jpgProgram Name: Page Turners

What: You don’t think I could go through the whole alphabet without talking about book discussions, do you? We’ve offered book discussions for all ages from 3rd grade through adults. I think book discussions work really well because you can create different book discussions for different interests or age levels. Fiction, nonfiction, early chapter books, social justice topics… whatever your community is interested in.

Where: Book discussions can take place in a small meeting room, on the library floor, at an outreach location and even on social media. They are so adaptable and can easily work in most library settings.

When: Again, book discussions are versatile, so they can be offered during any time of the year. And can be offered on a regular basis – once a month or can be special events to promote a specific title or series.

Who: As I said, we’ve offered book discussions for 3rd and 4th graders, middle school students (5th-8th grades), high school students and adults.

How: All you need is a facilitator who has created some questions to guide the book discussion as necessary and some space to meet. Promote the program on social media an din the library and you’re good to go!

Alternatives:

  • Book Discussion off-site – I’d love to offer a book discussion at a local bar or restaurant, maybe one geared toward millennials.
  • I’d also love to try a book discussion over social media. I’ve participated in book discussions online before and they’re fun, plus you can participate in your pajamas!
  • We’ve also tried read aloud programs for kids with some success – we read a short chapter book over 2-3 weeks, meeting once a week. I also offered coloring sheets, and scrap paper for kids to draw and craft while they were listening, which helped keep them from getting into trouble.

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During the month of April, I’ll be participating in the 2018 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. For this year’s theme, I’ll be offering you a library program plan with everything you to need to re-create it at your own library. Most of these programs we’ve offered in the past, others are programs I’d like to try in the future. I’m always looking for new inspiration and I thought you might be too!

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Trying Something New – Open House

16 Mar

We tried something new at our library this week – an open house for township employees. One of our major goals of late is to educate the public about everything the library has to offer – services, programs and resources. So, I got to thinking, how about we try to reach out to a ready made audience – the one that works in the same building we do, other township employees.

open house.pngWe created an open house event and a flyer to promote the idea. We included the information in the township employee monthly newsletter, it was mentioned at township meetings and a reminder email went out the day before.

We used our Keurig to offer coffee, tea, hot chocolate and other hot beverages and bought the good donuts! Plus, we had a raffle for a $10 gift card to the local gas station/convenience store, which helped in figuring out how many people stopped by. We made copies of many of our flyers, created a new one to promote our online resources, updated information and displayed everything to inform and educate our fellow colleagues.

We started our event at 7:45am because many of the staff begin work at 8:15 and I wanted to make sure they had enough time to stop by before getting to their desk. Honestly, I expected only a handful of people and am excited to report that about 15 people showed up! A few of which are regular library users, while others work across the hall from us and don’t use many of the library services.

We issued library cards, gave impromptu tours, talked about eBooks and our online resources and I was so excited to hear almost everyone announce, “I didn’t know you had/did that!” I’m hoping each of these people went back to their offices and talked up the library to their co-workers or went home and told their family about what they learned.

I would have loved to see a few more employees stop by, but I think we’ll try it again in the fall and hope for a larger turnout. I’m never sure how something new will turnout, but I’m so glad we gave it a try and that the people who came to the library learned something new.

Director’s Thoughts #13 – Program Evaluation

24 Aug

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I’m finalizing our strategic plan that will begin officially in January and our next project to take on is program and service evaluation. It’s definitely a time-intensive, difficult project because people feel strongly about programs and services, what we should keep, what we should get rid of, what we need, what we want, etc.

I’m going to focus on programs right now as I haven’t even begun to think about evaluating the many services we offer. My goal is to first look at a program evaluation model. I want to gather information from the employee creating, planning and presenting the program as well as gather information from the public. My goal is to answer a few questions:

  • Why are we offering this program?
  • How does this program benefit the community?
  • Is this the right time of year to offer this program?
  • Does this program take up too much staff time?
  • What is the ROI for this program?
  • Does this program need to be repeated regularly?
  • Where are there gaps in our program offerings (specific time periods, groups of people, types of programs)?

To answer these questions, I’m working on some sort of evaluation form to write down any input information – time, cost of supplies, staffing, how often it happens, etc. Next, is the output – how many attendees. And finally, outcomes – skills/knowledge developed and social aspect (how is this affecting the community).

I also need to start working on a simple, but effective tool to gather information from program attendees – a short survey that helps us understand what the community is looking for and whether or not a particular program reached it’s intended outcomes.

As I said, this is not for the faint of heart, but I want my staff to free themselves from tired programs that are only happening because we’ve always offered it, to be able to jump on new trends and try exciting new programs (without it meaning it becomes a regularly scheduled program all the time). It won’t be an easy project, but it’s the next step toward moving us into the future!

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