Nonprofits are everywhere. Wherever you are located, it's likely that there are numerous nonprofit organizations at work in your community that you've never even heard of. In 2009, the Hayward (Calif.) Public Library merged with another city department and took on the city's community grants program. They found that in this city of 150,000 there are over 2,000 nonprofit organizations!
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This six-session pilot program encourages creativity — and interest in library services — for elementary- and middle school-aged children through open-ended art projects such as Watercolor Resist Paintings and Continuous Line Monsters.
We offered this program in collaboration with the organization Phoenix Family, which provided us with access to their existing after-school program and art supplies.
Just over a year ago, my branch of Baltimore County Public Library started doing monthly outreach visits at the Charles Hickey School at the Maryland Juvenile Detention Center for Boys. We do regular outreach to all the other schools in our area, we thought; why not bring library-led reading and discussion to this one, too?
Communication is complex. The way people communicate and the beliefs we have are deeply layered; our life experiences impact how we connect and communicate with others.
People with whom we’re communicating also have a lived experience that they’re bringing to our interactions. They also have lenses through which they see the world.
Library workers need to be skilled in outreach and marketing so they can promote their libraries’ programs and services and advocate for their organizations. But in many MLIS programs, skills like outreach and marketing — things that many programming librarians do every day, but that fall outside the “typical” librarian job description — often go untaught, leaving workers to learn on the job.
As a child, I was very curious, annoying my family with my constant questions. In adulthood, that curiosity led me to librarianship. I am constantly trying to learn new things.
Libraries are key to expanding people’s curiosity, not just about the world, but about each other. For your library to truly be open to all, a place where everyone is welcome to learn about each other, you need to engage all segments of your community — not just those that you are intrinsically a part of.
As I write this, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems like online programs are the only way for librarians to connect with their patrons. Digital storytelling is a creative way to engage patrons virtually right now — and as a bonus, you will learn some fantastic skills you can take back to your libraries when this is all over, for intergenerational workshops or homeschooling projects to improve digital literacy. So let's get started!
In 2016, Sacramento Public Library Deputy Director Kathy Middleton took part in a three-day workshop with The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, a nonprofit organization that helps people and organizations solve pressing problems and change how communities work together.
Middleton hoped to use the Harwood Institute’s approach, called “Turning Outward,” to learn how the library could better serve people with disabilities. Here, she shares how what she learned in the workshop led to concrete changes at her library.
Our last blog post — in which we assessed our community's needs and set out to create a health and wellness program series for older adults — ended with a good idea, lots of enthusiasm ... and approximately zero dollars. How were we going to fund this fantastic smorgasbord of health, wealth and self-care program opportunities for the 55-and-older crowd on the Peninsula?
Together with American Express, our library branch celebrates Small Business Saturday® by hosting a craft fair where local artisans can sell handmade goods, such as jewelry, pottery and handmade cards. The fair draws at least 100 visitors to the library and gives local entrepreneurs a chance to share their work at a low cost.
Meservey, Iowa, is tiny — fewer than 250 residents — and the library’s budget is tight. Despite this, the Meservey Public Library has managed to triple its program attendance in the past few years and create many memorable, budget-friendly events.
Drawing on her experience as director of the Meservey Public Library, Chelsea Price will share ideas for hosting "big" programs on a small budget and discuss how partnerships can be an invaluable resource for programming.
Participants of this session will:
The Skills for Community-Centered Libraries initiative — a series of trainings meant to build community engagement capacities among staff — launched on Oct. 2, so it’s a good time for the Free Library of Philadelphia’s community organizing team to share what exactly we mean by community engagement. A common definition is a baseline for discussion at workshops and a way to push people’s thinking.
The Aspen Institute’s influential report “Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries” predicts that in the coming years, the most successful public libraries will be the ones with services that prioritize and support local community goals.