Summer reading is coming to an end, and school is starting up soon. In fact, where I live, some schools start next week!
As we transition into fall, the start of a new semester gives librarians ample opportunities to reach out beyond our typical users and let non or infrequent users know about our programs and services. Here are some tips that have worked for me over the years.
Many schools or communities, especially in areas of need, have Back to School Drives, where children can come and pick up school supplies. Almost every school has an Open House near the start of the year, where families can come and see the child’s classroom, meet the teacher, and learn more about the school.
Don’t be afraid to call the school and ask to participate in these events. Schools are frequently happy to give you a table where you can sit and give families information about the library. Less frequently, I’ve been invited to speak to parents at a small gathering that kicks off Open House and then man an information table.
These events allow you to promote homework help, tutoring, helpful databases families can access from home, library cards, afterschool snack or other food programs, and other anything else you offer. Have some library swag to draw families to your table. Kids just LOVE the “mood pencils” that change color, or really any other little gadget/toy you might have. Bring plenty of brochures and flyers to get your library information home with families. And don’t be afraid to strike up conversations throughout the night.
And while we are talking about the new year school, I highly recommend attending school board meetings when your schedule allows. It’s a great opportunity to meet school administrators and to remind them monthly that the library is here to help both their needs and the success of their students.
This post addresses the core competencies of I. Commitment to Client Group and V. Outreach and Advocacy.