Blogger Alexa Newman

Engaging Your Community : What Does That Mean?

A definition Community engagement is an important emerging trend in public libraries.  What, exactly, is community engagement, you ask? Well, according to Dr. Crispin Butteriss of Bangthetable.com, it can be described as both a process and an outcome.  In other, words it is both a noun and a verb.  Butteriss further describes it as “the process of getting people better connected into the community and for ensuring that the services they were designing me[e]t the specific needs of the people they are working with.” Applying the principles of community engagement specifically to libraries has been the focus of ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative.  The LTC initiative “seeks to strengthen librarians’ roles as core community leaders and change-agents.” On a regional level, RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System) has formed a community engagement networking group. I am my library’s youth liaison to the community.   I do outreach with several different agencies,…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Last Year’s “Light the Way” Grant Winner: Partnering with Juvenile Detention Facilities to Provide Maker-Space Outreach and Programming Using Music

The J. Lewis Crozer Library in Chester and the Middletown Free Library are located just over six miles apart in southeastern Pennsylvania. However, the libraries’ service populations are very different. The city of Chester has an unemployment rate of 9% and a poverty rate of 33%, with almost half of those under the age of 18 living in poverty. The city of 34,000 is also among the most diverse in the state, with a population that is approximately 75% African American, 17.2% White, and 9% Hispanic. Middletown has a suburban population of 15,807, which is 93.7% White and 3.1% African-American, and a median annual income of $77,000. However, the two libraries have a shared goal of expanding outreach and programming offerings for young people who are underserved by libraries.

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

The ALSC/Candlewick Press “Light the Way: Outreach to the Underserved” Grant is now open!

Is your library reaching out to the underserved children, caregivers and families in your community?  Does your library need funding for an innovative idea or expansion to provide a service or program for this population?   The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee (LSUCTC) are now accepting online applications for the 2018 Light the Way: Library Outreach to the Underserved grant. This $3,000 grant, made possible by Candlewick Press in honor of Newbery Medalist and Geisel Honoree author Kate DiCamillo, will go to a library conducting exemplary outreach to underserved populations through a new program or an expansion of work already being done. The winning project should be well thought-out, appropriate to the target population, doable, and replicable by other libraries. Each applicant will be judged on the following: Project Information- The outline should include goals, measures of success,…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Swag For Kids

My department has been stepping up our outreach efforts in a big way. We’ve been at street festivals, back to school events, church fairs, community toy drives, and more. Being noticed when sandwiched between the fire department and the dentist with a tooth fairy and a prize wheel can be hard. Our library system provides branded swag to help draw visitors to our tables or tents, but for the youngest visitors, all we really had was a hodgepodge of leftover stickers from past summer reading programs. Recently, we had the chance to explore purchasing items specifically aimed at helping promote our programs and services for young children and their families. Here’s what we’ve learned so far:

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Building Strong Summer Partnerships

Library outreach allows us to bring services and programs to children outside of library walls and to reach patrons in new settings. Children’s outreach can have an even greater impact in the summer months when school is out and energies can be focused on new learning activities. Summer outreach opportunities can also provide unique possibilities in terms of establishing new partnerships as you work with community organizations to bring summer library programming directly to their audiences. Whether they are summer camp sites, nonprofit organizations, neighborhood recreational centers, and more; there are a variety of community partnerships to forge in the summer to help expand the scope of the library and provide programming for youth. However, these opportunities can also bring about challenges in working with new community partners. Here are a few tips that may help you make the most of establishing new outreach partnerships over the coming months. 1. …

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Play Café: Storytime & Special Populations

Have you ever prepped for a storytime and no one has shown up? Have you tried a new flyer, a new day, a new time — and still no traction? You read blog posts with tips for crowd control and think, Must be nice… I feel you, friend. In the Oakland Public Library system, some branches regularly pack the room while others sing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” to, well, crickets. But we know there are toddlers in the neighborhood — strollers are everywhere.  A David and Lucile Packard Foundation study told us that caregivers in our community are looking for the things storytime can provide: networking and community building, early literacy support, all in a safe, free environment. Clearly our message wasn’t working. So we made some changes. We stopped saying “Storytime,” which is meaningful in some communities but was insider jargon in ours. We renamed it “Play Café,” a…