At this time of year I often try to focus and redirect. I look at what I’ve been doing to see if it works and I ask myself how can I do better. Here’s my quick list of what I’ll like to do in 2013.
Meet Library Users Where They Are. Do we offer programs in the right time and place for busy working families? If not, why not? And what can we do to make it easier to use the library and to attend events? One way could be to turn more structured library programs into passive drop-in programs. During December and the summer months, we have a drop-in craft Friday. Almost everyone that comes into the department on these days participates. Perhaps we should do this more regularly. This year I want to consider why our evening family programs have not always had the numbers we anticipated. Perhaps evening programs may need to be a bit bigger and brighter than our weekly daytime offerings. And maybe the timing is wrong. At the Keene Public Library, we offer a number of big draw Saturday afternoon programs like our annual Family Ladybug Book Award Festival, Star Wars Day, and Family Gingerbread House Workshops. If we had add occasional high impact evening programs to our schedule of events, would we reach a whole new population that has been too busy to make a trip to the library?
Make New Friends. I want to bring new people into the library and to have them return regularly. This evening I noticed families asking for directions in the library. “Where’s the Trustee’s Room?” It dawned on me that if these people are probably new to the library and whatever program was happening in the Trustee’s Room had achieved something I wish all my programs did. It brought new people into the library. This year I want to make sure I’m offering some programs that will bring in new people. Our monthly Lego program does but what other programs can I offer that will bring in people that have to ask for directions? I recognize that I’ve been guilty of taking the easy way out and offering my the programs I like without taking the trouble to find out what my patrons want. Sometimes it is too easy to do last year’s successful program again this year. And then after a decade you realize maybe the program isn’t so hot anymore. I just found some good suggestions on how to make sure my programs are relevant to my current patrons on Bryce Don’t Play. He suggests that we watch a little of the new shows on Nick Jr., PBS, and the Cartoon Network and to pay attention to kids’ shirts. Read more »