Monday, November 19, 2012

RA in a day 2012: Getting Your Community Reading: Sharing Your Successes

This post is about the second session of the day, Getting Your Community Reading: Sharing Your Successes. 

As a member of the RA Committee, the host organisation of RA in a day, I chaired one of the table discussions during this session. From the committee’s perspective, we developed this session as a response to feedback from previous years: attendees wanted more opportunities to talk to one another. My fellow committee member designed this session so that delegates changed places and sat at a table named for an Evergreen-shortlisted title, everyone brainstormed and shared great programs at their libraries, and then each table presented their favourite adult reading program with the room.

At my table, we heard about:
  • Mississauga Library System’s outreach efforts and Bingo game with literary genres (read them all to fill your Bingo card and win prizes!). 
  • TPL’s Film Club, arts and history lectures, book clubs (including in Cantonese!), bulletin board with patron suggestions (we’re trying this at Carlingwood this month! Come in to the Adult Info desk and leave us a suggestion for a display we are building) and the Thought Exchange series
  • Kitchener’s One Book, One Community program, and their participation in Word on the Street.
  • Milton Public Library’s memoir-writing workshop for seniors, Lifescapes (see photos from their book launch). 
  • Haliburton County Public Library’s “Chair yoga” for seniors, and their Shakespeare Club
  • Vaughn Public Library’s Teen Summer Reading Challenge
  • Someone (I forget who) had a GREAT idea about soliciting book recommendations from high-profile community members (eg. the manager of local business, councillor, school principal, etc). 
I asked the table about their “favourite” failures, and one library (I forget which) shared a story of a Book Club Boot Camp outreach program ("we’ll come to you, and help you design your book club") that didn’t have many takers in the community. We then talked about how marketing / program promotion happens at each library:
  • Some wished they had a Marketing department, but several others at the table concluded having one was often a mixed blessing. 
  • At Kitchener, the Marketing department takes care of travel costs and arrangements, etc. for speakers, as well as promotion. 
  • We talked about paying for advertising in community newspapers (some do, some can’t). 
  • Word of mouth is always the best way to promote a program: invite people who have their own network! Also, people trust their friends but may not trust/know us. 
  • One library faxes programs to the management of apartment buildings and gardening centres in the area.

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