Guest Blogger

Building Better Outreach #PLA2022

I came into my current position about 4 months with a goal to restart and revive youth outreach programs. One of the first PLA programs of the day was Clear and Kind: Boundaries in Outreach Work presented by Kate Morgan of King County Library System and Rachel Beckman of Sno-Isle Libraries.

I find outreach to be a great way to increase library visibility and stakeholders. As a result, it enables us to reach our communities where they are, but outreach can also result in difficulty setting and maintaining expectations. I was most interested in how other libraries with other organizations in their communities to create outreach programs.

I’m currently working with a local coalition of childcare providers to offer outreach story times in their facilities. In these conversations a lot of questions about expectations have come up that I struggle to answer meaningfully. Morgan and Beckman offered a simple and effective solution, written service agreements.

Written service agreements offer a formal way to document the length and scope of outreach services. These agreements also allow the library to set expectations of the organization. As I move forward, I’m looking forward to creating service agreements with my childcare providers that outline both their expectations and mine. Hopefully we’ll build an outreach program that helps all of us meet our goal, ensuring the children of our community thrive.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

Guest conference blogger Anne Price (she/her/hers) started as the Children’s Librarian for the North Platte Public Library in Nebraska in November 2021. For the last 7 years, she’s worked in youth services in public libraries in Wyoming and New Mexico. She is attending the 2022 PLA Conference live in Portland and is most looking forward to the sessions geared toward community partnerships and outreach. Her favorite conference snack is Cheez-Its with a Diet Dr. Pepper.

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