What Outreach means to me…

Outreach simply means reaching out to your community.  You don’t have to leave your desk to connect with the community – but it helps. You don’t need a bookmobile or a vehicle.  You don’t even need to be a librarian. I have learned firsthand from some of my patrons – it is up to us to help our community.  But being a librarian, I have tools and resources that could help.

Outreach is a part of library work – no matter if you are a public, school, academic, or special librarian. It doesn’t matter if you work in a small town or a large city. If you are a librarian, you are there to help your community – of adults, kids, seniors, workers, farmers, etc.

What do I love about Outreach Services? Glad you asked!

  • I learn about the people and businesses I serve.
  • I listen to what people need and want.
  • I respond to what people need and want through what the library can provide.

Currently I manage a department where our main goal is to reach the older adult community.  I love the story sharing and comments from seniors – they keep it real!  We bring more than books – we bring fun and help. We bring the library to the community and we are appreciated.  I enjoy going to work every day.  I look forward to seeing our patrons, talking about books and programs, helping them with technology questions, and hearing about the adventures they have had since I last saw them.  Though it’s a lot of physical work, I know I am filling a great need in the community.

There are so many library resources for outreach services.  OLOS (ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services) has a lot of resources. Partner with local groups, park districts, and businesses.  Join an email listserve or a Facebook page. Get involved in your community.

Become a member of ABOS (Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services). ABOS, an affiliated organization of ALA, has an annual conference.  This year’s conference “Outreach Services – Not So Hidden Treasures” will be October 14-16, 2015 in St. Charles, IL.  If you are involved in outreach, in any capacity, this is an awesome annual conference.

Join a local outreach group to network and share ideas.  In the Chicago suburbs, there is a great networking group of outreach librarians B’LONG: Bookmobile & Library Outreach Networking Group.

Here are just a few amazing outreach stories:

Lobby Stops: White Oak Library District in Crest Hill, Lockport, & Romeoville Illinois

Traditional Bookmobile on-a-budget: Paulding County Library in Ohio

Home Delivery Service: Hennepin County Library in Minnesota

Book Bike: Oak Park Public Library in Illinois

Libraries Connecting With Social Workers

Helping the Homeless Through Partnerships

Human Library – Breaking Down Barriers: Toronto Public Library

Comicopolis: Great Example of Library Partnerships

Nuno Marcal: Outreach Librarian Exploring Outreach Services Worldwide

~I’m here to help