Lately I have been speaking to a lot of senior citizen groups. I was reluctant to state my obvious message – but I said it anyway.
If a library appears on your property tax bill, like it does in my town, you are paying for library services and materials. So I ask, if you are paying for it (via your taxes), why don’t you have a library card? My next question I ask the groups is why don’t you use it (your library and your library card)? It turns out most people don’t understand the power of their library card.
One reason people tell me is they don’t read. When a person tells me they don’t read, most of them don’t mean they can’t read. They don’t make time to read or they find it difficult to read due to health problems. And if reading doesn’t interest you, the library offers so much more.
Here are some common things your local public library can offer you – for free:
- books (regular print or large print, audio books, eBooks)
- If you’re library doesn’t own what you are looking for, ask if they have other means of getting it. They might be part of a loaning program where the library can borrow an item from another library. Some libraries are part of a purchase-on-demand program too. Ask at your library!
- magazines, movies, and music (some libraries have streaming services too)
- computer classes (Office, Pinterest, Facebook, eReaders, etc.)
- databases (authentic resources to match various needs, like Ancestry)
- meeting rooms and study rooms
- reference service (getting assistance from knowledgeable librarians)
- readers advisory service (what will you read next)
- outreach service (reaching into the community)
- Friends of the Library (book sales, volunteering, fundraising)
There is always something to do at the library. Most libraries are on a mission to be inclusive, educational, and fun places.
- children activities (story time, gaming, crafts, clubs, etc.)
- adult activities (crafts, book clubs, movies, informational lectures, authors, How-To, self-improvement classes, etc.)
- family programs (comic book days, music groups, library mini-golf, etc.)
Libraries are leaders in finding new ways to attract new customers. We spend a lot of time fostering a love of reading for all ages – from babies, toddlers, tweens, teens, young adults, seniors, and every age in-between.
One of the newest trends in libraries has been Makerspaces. What is a Makerspace? It is a hands-on environment where you create something: technology, crafts, art, music, STEM/STEAM, etc. Check out some of these on Pinterest. Here’s a website that lists some of the best Academic and Public library Makerspaces: Makerspaces in Libraries. A couple of impressive Makerspaces come from the Fountaindale Public Library Studio 300 and Oak Park Public Library Idea Box.
If we are to get more people involved in the library, we need to reach them. I go out and speak to senior citizen groups and bring materials to older adult communities. Children librarians go to local schools to get kids excited about reading and coming to the library. Libraries host book clubs at bars and coffee houses. We host park parties and go to local farmers markets. Libraries have bookmobiles, book bikes, and so much more…
Micah Solomon wrote a great article in Forbes last week about how to reach customers Customer Service Secrets For Millennial Customers. I enjoyed his article mostly because he talks about how people of all ages look to millennials (those born between 1980-2000). Bottom line is that millennials are driven by fast-paced environments and businesses with a heart or a cause. People listen to their opinions and look to them for advice in this technological age.
Since a small portion of the average population utilizes their library on a regular basis, I ask again, why don’t you have a library card AND why don’t you use your local library? Check out your local library and see what we have to offer!
~I’m here to help
Feldman, Anna. June 2015. STEAM vs. STEM. Slate. Retrieved from: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2015/06/steam_vs_stem_why_we_need_to_put_the_arts_into_stem_education.html
Fountaindale Public Library, Bolingbrook, IL. Studio 300. Retrieved from: http://www.fountaindale.org/studio300/about
Ginsberg, Sharona. 2015. Makerspaces in Libraries. Retrieved from: http://library-maker-culture.weebly.com/makerspaces-in-libraries.html
Library Journal. January 2014. The Walking Librarian. Retrieved from: http://tumblr.libraryjournal.com/post/74951382597/vsw-the-walking-library-from-the-vsw-soibelman
Oak Park Public Library, Oak Park, IL. Book Bike. Retrieved from: http://oppl.org/services/oak-park-book-bike
Oak Park Public Library, Oak Park, IL. Idea Box. Retrieved from: http://oppl.org/events/idea-box
Solomon, Micah. November 2015. Customer Service Secrets For Millennial Customers (That Improve Boomer Customer Service, Too). Forbes. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2015/11/22/customer-service-secrets-for-millennial-customers-that-help-you-serve-boomer-customers-too/