When discussing how great the recent conference in Bretton Woods was at the Seacoast Co-op meeting this morning, I remembered that I had promised to post the collective wisdom gathered at the program on libraries and community relations. Hope that you find these ideas as worthwhile as I do!
How to create and sustain positive Library and Community Relations
- Need to educate town government—
- Newsletter for town department
- Making pertinent statistics available on a regular basis
- Showing a cost/benefit ratio for services
- Use Event-Keeper and link it to town departments.
- Put library information on light bills, water bills, town notices.
- Do you have equipment another department could use, e.g. a typewriter?
- Give complimentary copies of books to stakeholders, target audience.
- Create a community contacts book, with web contacts when available.
- Have a brochure of services for newcomers.
- See if you can help realtors create a “Welcome” kit for newcomers.
- What to do if there are less-than-perfect relationships with town departments—
- Show appreciation
- Ask advice
- Invite them to your library or to co-sponsor events
- Ask them to judge a contest
- Attend/participate in department meetings and communicate library happenings.
- Be a librarian OUTSIDE of the library.
- Join a service organization.
- Serve on a town committee.
- Teach people how to use databases that will help them in their work (e.g., “LearningExpress”).
- Purchase locally when possible.
- Ask to be a speaker for your library at various organizations.
- Host a non-profit showcase.
- Hold a candidates’ night.