Who are “Young Professionals”: We says “people in their 20s and 30s”, but what does that mean? That includes individuals from two generations: Millennials and Generation Xers It includes people in many different parts of their life: college, first jobs, marriage, kids They are of different genders, races, sexual orientations, and socio-economic classes
So Who Are the Millenials:The label refers those born after 1980 – the first generation to come of age in the new millennium. (PEW – Millennials Confident, Connected, Open to Change) More highly educated than previous generations Least likely to be married before 30 Less white, more black and hispanic than any previous generationThey’re more likely to want to be good parents & having a successful career, but less likely to value having a successful marriage or living a religious lifeThey are consistently more upbeat (when surveyed since 1990)They are just as satisfied with their local community as other generationsThey’re less likely to believe that people can be trusted 75% are on social networking – they’re also more likely to use wifi other than at home, to have posted a video online, to text, and to not have a landline 83% sleep next to their cell phone 80% of Millenians have texted in the last day (88% ever), while on 77% of Gen Xers have ever texted Less likely to have been employed
Why Should We Care?
We work hard to get users in young
We do a lot to keep them coming through high school.
And we’re a bastion for the elderly on a fixed income.
So what about the rest of the time?
Our friends groups are aging
We’re all trying to avoid this
Convincing young people to love the library is an investment in the library’s future – moreso than convincing children to love the library, convincing people in their 20s and 30s to love the library creates a lifelong library user.
Millennials and Generation Xers are actually more likely to be satisfied with their Local Communities than Boomers or the Silent Generation.They are more satisfied when they feel that their government is being transparent. The more you share, the happier they are.
So you are going to reach out
Your library is going to inform them
And your library is going to be transparent
I propose three things to reach out: Programming, Collection Management & Promotion, and Outreach
Probably the most popular choice for programs is book clubs – Perhaps this is because it’s a program with which libraries are already very familiar – It fits the mission of the libraryIts something that librarians are good at doing
Most libraries seem to leave the library to do this club – and they generally choose either a coffee shop or a bar/restaurant. It makes the atmosphere more casual, it reaches out to local businesses, and it brings in users that might not normally come into the library.
Don’t get too caught up in discussing the book if people don’t want to
Speed Dating – In the library or out, literary or not
There are some libraries that partition them – or have tried to. If you have a large LGBT community or a large Furry community, consider partitioning separate speed dating events – even getting away from YP, try seniors. You could do them for sci-fi lovers around comic-con or for military men around Memorial Day. Or you could just stick to Valentine’s Day.
Keep it inclusive – only parition is you know that you have a large community to attend when you partitionSome good conversation starts – literary, movies, things that will bring them into the librarySome special day options: Valentine’s Day, Pride week, Sweetests Day, do a sci-fi lovers one during Comic-con
After Hours Programs. You need nothing but space. No preparation, no nothing. You just give space – perhaps an activity.
How about a board game night? Leave the library open just for these groups after hours on a Friday/Saturday night. Put our board games, make coffee, and give people a place to go that’s not a bar.
Music Programs. Ferndale – First Stop Fridays – Invite local bands. Bring in a totally different crowd, and maybe some of your regulars as well.http://780s.blogspot.com/
It’s also good to bring people in for safety reasons
Don’t want to do the work. Get someone else to do it for you.
If you can’t convince your friends group to revitalize – create a new group.All you need is a small group of young people who use the library to become passionate about itLet them plan programming or fundraisers
Let them plan a fundraiser like:A fashion showA concertAn after hours barLet them plan what they like – they’ll enjoy it more and the library will benefit more
This is the area where the fewest people are doing and investigating. Some suggestions as to what we can do?
The first thing to do is watch. Where do you see young people in your collection? Are they in the DVDs section? Your CDs? Do they like your nonfiction or your fiction? Are they in the romance or mystery sections? Are they in the teen section?
Listen. Get an ear to the ground. You can listen in on what young people are talking about, or you can make a few relationships with a few young professionals and let them do the work for you. Are there movies that they’re watching? Are there things that they want that you don’t have?I have a group of five young people who recommend music to me. If they see a great youtube video they email or tweet it to me and then I see if its something that the library wants.
Don’t feel up to the task, let people do it for you. Stop two or three YP who you see come in. Introduce yourself. Ask them what they like and ask them to tell you when they see something they want. Let them facebook you, tweet you, email you, whatever you want. Lindseys list of books – all teen – made sure that we had themMary’s cd collectionI’ve found that giving them an area of responsibility has better results. I see that you really like cds, what can I get? Is there anything that you can send me to help me do my job better?
You may have to try something new and different – but if what you’re doing right now isn’t working, then trying something new isn’t so bad.
Graphic Novels are not something to be scared of. They are also not necessarilyFor childrenFull of Super HeroesAs this current generation grows up, they’re going to want this format which they’ve known their whole lives, and you’ll need a collection to placate them – start now.To start a graphic novels collection:Start with just those graphic novels that are in popular culture Walking Dead (AMC TV Show), Watchmen (Movie), Sin City (Movie), Priest (Movie)Try picking one graphic novel off of the NYTImes graphic hardcover best seller list a month (a week if you can swing it). A lot of the graphic novels could go into youth or YA, but there are some that must land firmly into the adult sectionThere is a core collection of graphic novels that every library should own without question: Maus (Art Speigelman), Persepolis (MarjaneSatrapi), Stitches (David Small), Blankets (Craig Thompson), Watchman (Alan Moore), Sandman – Series (Neil Gaiman)
There is a core collection of graphic novels that every library should own without question: Maus (Art Speigelman), Persepolis (MarjaneSatrapi), Stitches (David Small), Blankets (Craig Thompson), Watchman (Alan Moore), Sandman – Series (Neil Gaiman)
Display something new!Nov/Dec – Cooking & Feb – LoveOct – HalloweenDecorationJan – Weight LossGraphic NovelsTeen Books for AdultsBooks into Movies (Read it first.com – readit1st.com)New CareersIt doesn’t just help to draw attention from YP – it also livens up the rest of your patrons who have also seen the same thing every year.
The simplest thing that you can do is to reach out.Literally, to someone already in the library
Young professionals can use computersThey can use the online catalog (well, they think so). They’re not inclined to ask for help or suggestions.So you need to reach out.You need to make the effort
Stop people at the circulation desk. “O, I read that book, it’s great.” “I’ve been thinking of trying that cd, what’s your favorite Ke$ha song?”It doesn’t have to be a long conversation, and it doesn’t have to be a young professional. Commit to talking to one person a week who has never talked to you at the reference desk each day. It’s a small thing, but it gives you a chance to interact with, and endear yourself to, a patron who might not otherwise be invested in the library.
Roving reference will only get you so far. Asking whether or not someone needs help won’t always end in an opportunity for outreach. Casual conversation is sometimes the way to go.
But so often – they feel like this
Unfortunately, sometimes we feel like this
How do we bridge the gap?Don’t be scared or intimidated. Seriously – young people are people, tooDo your research. We are all products of the events that shaped our lives. Knowing those events will help you better understand and relate to younger generations. For almost 20 years Beloit has made a list every year of things that each entering freshman class has had and has never had. (Beloit College Mindset List). Some notable ones for the class of 2015US Tax Forms have always been available in Spanish“Amazon” has never been just a river (it was founded in 1994, online in 1995)We have never asked and they have never had to tellArnold Palmer has always been a drinkNew Kids have always been known as NKOTBFerris Bueller could be their fatherFrom my year (2006)Born in the USA could have been played to celebrate their birth (it was release 3 days after I was born)Genetic testing and DNA screening have always been availableThe drinking age has always been 21Hip-hop and rap have always been popular music formsA Hair band has always been a fashion accessoryTry something new. Do you wonder why people listen to Ke$ha (I wonder myself sometimes)? Read zombie books (I love zombie books)? Start flash mobs (I love a good flash mob)? Do your research – listen to Ke$ha, read Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, watch some flash mob videos. Try something new.Be honest – if you don’t know what they’re talking about, ask them. It will only make them thing that you care and you’re interested – and it will better prepare you for the next person
3 Things: Programming, Collection Management & Promotion, and Outreach
Thanks to: Kelly Rembert (Southfield Public Library) Jill Abood (East Lansing Public Library) Linda Sims (Hazel Park Public Library) Sara Doherty (Capital Area District Library) Richard Schneider (Muskegon Area District Library) Tom Genson (Herrick District Library) Julie Farkas (Novi Public Library) Bill Watts (Lexington Public Library) John Reinert (Pritzker Military Library) Sara Wedell (Chelsea District Library) Holly Hibner (Plymouth District Library) Mary Kelly (Lyon Township Public Library)
Special Thanks To: ManyaShorr (Sacramento Public Library) Kelly Bennett (Ferndale Public Library) Darlene Hellenberg (Ferndale Public Library)
Notes and slides will be posted to the MLA website and my own website: http://www.kabergeron.com Kathryn Bergeron, MSISystems LibrarianBaldwin Public Librarykabergeron@kabergeron.com