Blogger Meg Smith

Solutions Without the Sacrifice

Searching for solutions does not need to be complicated.  Sometimes fresh ideas and unique perspectives offer us quick answers to correct potential concerns.  These staff suggestions have enhanced the effectiveness of our library services. 

Dividing the Experience      

When our story times for the five and under set exploded, we had to review what programming would best impact our growing population.  We decided to offer an additional story time but altered the age range to ensure we could meet the needs of most patrons.  Instead of offering a double dose of toddler story time for two year old children, we provided a combination program for children ages 1-3, a blending of two story times to reach a larger audience.  Adding this additional story time allowed us to offer variety in our programming for the most people, rather than simply repeating the exact story time on a different day of the week.

Different Formats

Our school assemblies became too time intensive for our elementary Summer Reading Club promotion.  Our system investigated using public service announcements to reach these thousands of children in a faster period of time.  Staff taped morning announcements that could be shown repeatedly to classes.  We still provide the option of a school assembly, but encouraging these taped segments has been the most effective way to reach these groups.  It has also minimized the amount of time and coordination necessary for both the school and library staff.  It’s much more effective than simply sending promotional materials to the schools, and these taped segments allow us scheduling flexibility to reach an even larger audience.

Know Your Strengths

We’ve expanded our programming for youth by relying on staff outside of our youth services department.  Though not assigned specifically to children’s services, we had a staff member in our community branch with a passion for anime and manga.  It was a more natural fit for this staff to take the reins and coordinate our monthly teen anime club because her enthusiasm for this type of programming was infectious.  Our youth services supervisor recognized that the interests of employees, regardless of their department, can increase our program’s effectiveness.

 Little Details Bring Big Changes

Strategic advertising can strengthen those bare library walls and those under-utilized spaces within a smaller branch location.  Our activity room currently serves as our branch’s only meeting space, though we have plans in the works to create an additional conference room in an existing area. This activity room was used not only for children’s programs but for adult meetings and public forums.  To advertise our children’s events and to ensure this space was welcoming for all ages, we have displayed colorful posters highlighting these programs on our activity room wall.  This simple marketing touch not only creates a more pleasing design for this blank space, but it is a simple way to promote programming in an area utilized by numerous groups for various functions. 

These simple solutions have enhanced our community facility and also have allowed us to more effectively coordinate staffers’ time and talents.  What simple solutions have you and your departments discovered that have impacted your library services for the better? 

Please share in the comments below!

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