Spring is Here! Prior to the start of Summer Reading Club, Spring is typically filled with planning for the busy summer months. However, this season also allows us time to evaluate existing library partnerships and motivation to create new meaningful connections in the community.
When it comes to Youth Services Outreach, the possibilities are endless. There are so many passionate librarians that are thinking outside of the box and finding ways to reach all residents. There are inspiring stories of librarians offering storytime in laundromats or creating floating book collections in barbershops. There are even partnerships between libraries and grocery stores and foodbanks. It’s an exciting time to work in Outreach Services, as we can see the positive impact these efforts make in our communities.
One of the most important pieces of Outreach, is establishing relationships. Visiting different daycares and classrooms throughout the year is wonderful, and a service that many libraries have offered for years. Taking the extra time to build solid relationships with teachers and administrators is a crucial part of success. Are you able to assist teachers beyond a monthly class visit? Can they reach out to you with questions or when they need assistance about different services in the community? Can you work to introduce new teachers to established teachers in your city?
Reaching out to local pediatricians is another great opportunity for strong partnerships. Many libraries will drop off program flyers to local doctors’ offices. This is a great way to meet new faces and allow all families to read about the amazing things happening at their local library. Once again, taking the extra step to meet with the staff at different offices can be incredibly beneficial. Become a familiar face and discuss collaborative ideas. Invite pediatricians to attend a storytime, so they can see the magic of storytime for themselves and then share the excitement with their patients.
Through outreach opportunities such as: class visits, programming “on the go” or creating floating collections, Youth Services Outreach covers many different areas. Establishing strong connections is important to the success of the library. As librarians, we can work to create a network of people within the community who can work together on joint projects, brainstorm solutions to city-wide issues, and perhaps most importantly, offer on-going support throughout the years.
Libraries provide such an enormous amount of knowledge and information to our valued guests. In a similar way, as librarians we provide each other with stories of outreach success and failures. We can be inspired by our peers and look for opportunities to improve, based on the experiences of others. What are your Youth Services Outreach goals for 2019? What do you want to accomplish and what are you ready to reevaluate?
For further reading, check out the following stories:
Kate Johnson has worked for Twinsburg Public Library since 2005. She was the Manager of Youth Services for eight years and recently became the Manager of Community Outreach. Throughout
her career she has been focused on establishing strong collaborative
relationships between the public library and other community organizations. She is currently a member of the Library
Service to the Underserved Children and their Caregivers Committee. Sheis a 2017 Library Journal Mover and Shaker. In her free time she entertains her husband and four kids.