Garnering Engagement Through National Library Week Outreach

by Emily Donnellan

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As this audience knows, April 7-13 was National Library Week. This year being new to my position, I decided to create fresh traditions based around National Library week. I wanted to solicit buy-in from my diverse group of stakeholders. I’ve been doing some marketing research and have learned stakeholder buy-in is key to maintaining any successful venture.

My goal this week was to make sure every patron knew that this is their library. I wanted to share my vision for what a library is and how critical community is for realizing this vision.

Each day throughout the week I sent out an e-mail with a fun daily activity. Anyone who e-mailed me an answer to the daily activity was entered for a prize drawing that day, and into the grand prize drawing held on Friday.

I ended my first e-mail on Monday with my vision of what a library is:

To me a library is a place of knowledge, growth and community. I hope to celebrate all those ideals this week!

I had learned from previous marketing attempts that many viewed this court library as a place for books and that my job was to be a bookkeeper.

I disagree.

Slowly I’ve been changing that perception and wanted this week’s activities to reflect that.

Monday – Best Book You’ve Read in the Last Year

Tuesday – Tell Me a Story in 6 Words

Wednesday – Word Game

Thursday – Spot the Fake News

Friday  – Breakfast in the Library

I was pleasantly surprised with how these e-mails helped engage my patrons. I had the highest participation on Monday & Wednesday. Interestingly, many Wednesday participants only submitted one entry that week. I had good participation Tuesday but very few of the creative Tuesday participants wanted to complete the word game on Wednesday. This is something I will have to carefully consider next year; how to get both groups, creative and analytical, to want to participate in all events.

To further engage patrons, I also did something I’ve seen around Library Twitter: Blind Date with a Book! I wrapped up books I had around my house and listed a few fun facts about them before setting up the display. All but one book was taken throughout the week, and I had to put additional books out.

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This display spurred patrons to ask if I’d be interested in hosting a “take a book, leave a book” library collection which I’m now organizing.

My biggest success was Friday’s Breakfast in the Library. I had over 20 attendees stop by. This is a stellar turnout for a Friday at a Federal Courthouse. Many people offered compliments about my events throughout the week. It was wonderful to see a big group using the library space in a new way. I only got a few, “can we really eat in the library?” comments.

Change can be slow but getting your patrons to see the library in a new way is possible!

This entry was posted in Customer Service, Holidays, Marketing, Patron Services and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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