How Libraries Can Transform Communities: A Practical Guide
How Libraries Can Transform
Communities: A Practical Guide
Created by: TELL ME MORE Language Learning
Importance of Libraries............................................................... 2
Target Patrons.......................................................................... 3-4
Promoting Language Learning Opportunities to your Patrons... 5
Ways to reach out to International Community Members........... 6
Increasing Computer Usage........................................................7
Creating Value for Families......................................................... 8
Reaching Out to the Unemployed and Underemployed............ 9
10 Tips for Navigating Twitter.................................................... 10
Bye Bye Stuffy, Dusty Ol’ Library! Hello Information Spa!.........12
15 Tips for Promoting Your Language Learning Program....13-14
Libraries provide communities with easily accessible resources to learn, grow and
develop into more knowledgeable and productive citizens. They provide patrons with
a quiet, relaxing environment to read and explore far away adventures and research
the latest information. The environment created by a library fosters a sense of security
and clarity: a place of safety where strangers gather for one purpose: to learn. From
audio books to e-Books, CD’s to DVD’s, lectures to language learning, storytelling to
cultural events, libraries meet the needs of a diverse population.
Having free resources available to the community is extremely important. It allows
everyone to have equal access to materials, regardless of income or affordability. The
use of libraries has dramatically increased in the last few years during the recession,
as it often does in down economies. People come to the library to get free assistance
when applying for jobs and when they have more free time.
• 20% of public libraries say demand for computers exceeds supply all the time
• 60% of public libraries say demand exceeds supply some of the time
• 73% of libraries and 83% of rural libraries are their communities’ only source of free
access to computers/Internet
• More than 30 million Americans speak Spanish as a first language
• By 2050, the Hispanic population will have grown to over 100 million in the US and
whites will probably be a minority
• During 2010, more than 75% of all public libraries had decreased funding
• In 2010, only three states received additional funding for libraries
• Approximately 10,600 library or library-related blogs exist
Number of libraries in
• 9,221 Public
• 3,827 Academic
• 99,180 School
• 8,476 Special (Law,
• 284 Armed Forces
Importance of Libraries
Sources: Library Journal: Article ALA Report: Computer Demand Still Increases
ALA Library Fact Sheet 1
High School Sr.Trippers
Oh the golden days of being a senior in high school…
Almost grown up but still under mom and dad’s roof!
Every year come June our high schools unleash a pack
of Sr. Trippers into the world! Whether backpacking
through Europe, enjoying the beaches of Mexico or
performing humanitarian work in China—these folks
would benefit from some serious language skills!
• Live online and will rarely step foot in an actual library
• Are tech savvy and look to libraries for quick and
easy online resources
• Need to know the basics of a language in order to
make the leap
• Want to impress their friends and look “cool”
Retirees understand the value that a library can
bring to the community. As many retires are on
a fixed income, being able to take advantage
of all that a library can offer provides them with
a wealth of savings and life enhancing services
and information. The library also provides an op-
portunity to get out of the house and socialize as
well as learn new skills.
• Worked very hard for many years
• Finally taking time for themselves
• Not too computer savvy
• Like to focus on travel, volunteering and family
The US has been called a melting pot or a salad bowl. No
other institution knows this better than a library! People from
other countries rely on libraries to help them acclimate, learn
a culture and fit into society and their communities. Libraries
are an invaluable resource to this population and serve as a
kind of ambassador!
• Often very limited English speaking
• Need to better understand US/Canadian culture
• Very dedicated to learning as their future depends on
their ability to become marketable
• Looking for a friendly face - these folks are new and
probably know few people
Other Patrons to Target:
Educators: Many schools have been severely hurt by budget cuts, these folks not only need the library it is essential for the future of their students!
Homeschoolers: Like traditional educators, homeschool teachers are in need of materials and resources. The library is one of the best sources for providing
course content to their students. Foreign language is not a requirement, but would be a great program to have!
Readers: These patrons are very cost sensitive. Looking for best-sellers, niche books or just browsing for something entertaining.
College Study Abroaders
Like the Sr. Trippers, Study Abroaders are getting ready to set
foot on another terra firma. Their ability to communicate could
mean the difference between eating and starving or ordering
the proper beverage…The reality is that speaking another
language will not only prepare them for having a wonderful
trip, but also give them life skills that could positively impact
• Typically they have had some basic language skills courses
• Looking to supplement their current resources
• Are tech savvy and look to libraries for quick and easy
• Looking for shortcuts—why keep their nose in a book for
hours if there is an interactive resource that is much faster
Other Patrons to Target:
Research/one-time users: This group of people have a specific subject they want research or problem they want to solve, such as a medical, legal or career
School assignments: This group only use the library when working on a school assignment. History reports, such as famous people and events, state and
country reports, government reports, etc.
Family tree seekers: These folks are looking for information and trying to find their roots. Why not target them with a language learning database? There is
nothing like being able to speak the original mother tongue!
These folks are the best profile! We’ll call them John and Rachel. John and Ra-
chel are hard working and have been saving up for this awesome trip and now
the trip is within reach! They want to ensure that they have every bit of informa-
tion imaginable so they can draft itineraries, figure out where to sleep, eat and
play. But most importantly they will need to make sure that they can get around
so a language learning database is exactly what they need!
• Need a language learning database that has both language and cultural skills
• Need to know the basics of a language in order to make the leap
• They are spoiling themselves with this trip—but still are being very cost savvy
• A great opportunity to share traditional and modern resources
We have all heard about these folks—lifelong learners. In-
stead of sitting brainlessly in front of their television watching
the 150th rerun of I Love Lucy, these folks are reading, study-
ing, taking classes and logging into their computers to enjoy
e-Learning resources that enhance their skills!
• Tend to be pretty computer savvy
• Don’t necessarily look to a brick and mortar library for
resources—these are remote access patrons
• Will be pleasantly surprised when they discover the wealth
of services and resources available to them
• One word: Cheerleader (Life enhancers will spread the
word fast when they have something to cheer about)
Promoting TELL ME MORE
Language Learning to Patrons
To get the most out of your database investments it is essential
to create awareness of the resource! TELL ME MORE offers as-
sistance and help with this. You are bringing the world to your
patrons after all!
We have created a number of tools to make promotion of
your language program easy. In fact, we’ve even created a
checklist to ensure that nothing gets missed! Even if you are
not using TELL ME MORE, our checklist can help you pro-
mote your valuable resources in your community.
TELL ME MORE Tools
Welcome Packet: New clients receive a welcome packet
consisting of the following items:
• Posters, pens and bookmarks
• 2 Raffle Bags (contents will vary)
Use to promote awareness at your library!
• CD with resources
• Customized emails you can send to patrons
• Printable Quick Start Guides (English & Spanish)
• Newsletter blurb for either print or electronic use
• Pre-scripted press release
• Source files for:
• TELL ME MORE website logo (refer to the previous
section for usage)
• A looping .pps file for use on your welcome screens
to help drive awareness of your new program
• CD with our guided tour (use like the .pps) includes full
audio and an explanation of your new program!
Customize the pre-scripted press release and post to the news section of
your website and drop to your local news sources. Find free online news sites
you can post to and expand your reach!
Post throughout your library as well as in your media room where patrons will
be using the language learning. Tip: The check-out desk and restrooms are
particularly great spots!
Pass out the pens to all of your employees as a way to remind them to dis-
cuss language learning with patrons.
Also, these are great handouts if you conduct info-sessions on your services,
tour groups or to pass out to patrons interested in language learning.
At the checkout desk provide to patrons as they check out materials to inform
them of this exciting new offering.
These are double sided with one side in English and the other in Spanish.
Tie these to the computer station where patrons can access TELL ME MORE
in order to assist them in easily getting started with their language learning.
(note: there is also a tutorial available!)
We have a number of flyers you can use to promote your language learning
database to patrons
• Handouts for informational sessions
• Handouts for how to login and access the service
• General program information
Simply customize with your details and information and send to your email
lists to announce the availability of TELL ME MORE language learning.
Copy and paste into your electronic or print newsletter file to help promote
your language learning resources.
Submit articles to local publications on the advantages of language learning
and how your library is helping the community.
The logo file can be used for a variety of needs:
• Place on your website for remote access patrons to access
TELL ME MORE
• Use in your own materials for promoting TELL ME MORE
If you have a welcome screen, or other monitors throughout the library simply
load the self-running PowerPoint and let patrons easily see the benefits of the
A full audio explanation and tour of TELL ME MORE is available as a tool to
have available for patrons interested in seeing a presentation of the solution.
ticle on language
RESOURCE HOW TO USE IT
Examples of ways to meet the needs of internationally
• Host seminars on how to look up available community
resources, how to use e-government services, including
enrolling in Medicare and applying for unemployment.
• Twice a week host a one-hour ESL class. Introduce patrons
to TELL ME MORE, walk them through activities and help
learners with questions.
• Have library signage (both in the library and on the website)
available in several languages.
• Offer a wide variety of books, CD’s, DVD’s, etc. in multiple
languages, including urban literature.
Ways to Reach
Out to International
Members As the number of immigrants increase, how does your library address a key
segment of our population?
Increasing Computer Usage
Host Webinars or Brown Bag Lunches:
• How to create an email account
• Microsoft Word (for beginners, experts, etc.)
• Microsoft Excel (for beginners, experts, etc.)
• Microsoft PowerPoint (for beginners, experts, etc.)
• Successfully searching the Internet
• ESL class
Website Resources and Tools:
• Ensure your website is user-friendly
- Create a patron focus group to discuss
• Create “Homework Help” section on your website
• Ensure that all your library classes, seminars, workshops,
etc. are on your website!
Offer Social Media Seminars:
• How to use Twitter
• Enhancing the Twitter experience by using other applications
• How to use Facebook
• Facebook Fundamentals - maximizing the Facebook experience for
teachers - Resources and tools available
• Facebook Fundamentals - maximizing the Facebook experience for
businesses (how to create Pages for businesses, etc.)
• Blogging beginner basics
• Creating a LinkedIn profile for business success
Create a Place for Patrons to Connect with Each other
• Facebook discussion groups, etc.
Creating Value for Families
Generating ways for community members to get involved with
your library can be fun! One of the best examples of this has
been done by the Chicago Public Library who developed a
program called YouMedia. “Teenagers with a city library card
have in-house access to more than 100 laptops, as well as
video games and a Wii console. There are flat screen monitors
on every wall, a small recording studio, performance space,
and a geek-out area where they can learn about new media
from adult mentors — and it is for teenagers only.”
Story hour - introduce kids to the
Summer book programs - weekly
raffles, author visits, performers,
Partner with your local parks for
a monthly family night - games,
crafts, music and food
Fun Fridays - host guest speak-
ers for children on topics such
as nature, space, animals, etc.
Have a play area specifically
dedicated for kids
Creative Cat - Poetry fest once a
month, art zone to display local
artwork and photography
Teacher Tutor Tuesday or Thurs-
day - have a teacher (or several)
available for help at the library
Career exploration seminars
After school programs - Teen
zone - games, video games, Wii
Creative writing classes, money
management classes (budget-
ing, retirement, home buying)
Free or reduced pricing passes
to cultural events and the zoo
Recommending reading by
Challenge your community to
read the same book this fall.
Create book clubs to discuss.
FOR KIDS FOR TEENS FOR EVERYONE
Knowledge board for community
Create a mentorship program
with local businesses to teach
teens skills (game design, etc.)
According to a recent Gallup poll, more than 18 percent of U.S. workers
say they are either unemployed or underemployed. The U.S. unemploy-
ment rate stands at 9.5 percent, according to the latest numbers from
the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In the midst of our current economic and labor crisis libraries have a
great opportunity to reach out to both the public and private sector and
create a bridge between many worlds. Job seekers, career enhancers
and generally brilliant folks all frequent the library. Many local organiza-
tions are desperate for an opportunity to recruit talented folks but have a
hard time finding and meeting them.
Many libraries are now coordinating career fairs, networking events,
guest lecture series and other ingenious ways to connect their patrons
with career opportunities. We’ve also seen partnerships with other local
resources such as the Workforce Office of Employment and Training to
expand computer services to help unemployed and underemployed.
Also available are a number of grants to help libraries help patrons. We
discovered a fabulous source to stay up to date on grant opportunities
at: http://librarygrants.blogspot.com/. Check out the following grants:
> Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants
> American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Funds
Reaching Out to
the Unemployed &
As Randy Daytona said in the movie
Balls of Fury: “Don’t be so hard on
yourself, you got mad skills.”
Reduce the number of questions regarding where to find particular
items at the library: Create a video tour of your library in several lan-
guages! For an example of this, check out the University of Illinois
1. A rule of thumb: 12:1 (12 tweets about others, 1 tweet for your library).
2. Improve retweeting by leaving 20 characters or more space left in each tweet.
3. Build lists to watch people who matter to you more closely.
4. Use Seesmic or Tweetdeck or Hootsuite so you can see more.
5. Retweet the best tweets from others. Sharing is caring.
6. Engage patrons and others by using @replies - it shows humanity.
7. For events at your library, make a hashtag for the speaker and the event and post the
8. Check out applications such as TweetChat.com, which helps to make following event
9. Tweets that point us to photos and/or video and/or music, etc, are a good way to
enhance the experience.
10. Asking questions on Twitter makes for very interesting commentary and opinions for
10 Tips for
Social Media Resource: Ranked by Technorati and AdAge as one of the top 100 business
blogs, Social Media Examiner is a fantastic resource for ideas on how to do create interesting
blogs, including how to incorporate video blogging, create Facebook pages, how to use Face-
book and LinkedIn to find a job, etc.: Subscribe to their blog: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.
Generate word-of-mouth advertising by collecting the best and most creative material that your patrons have de-
signed and developed, and make them the stars! Put patrons’ work on display at your library, on your Web site and
blog! Examples include:
• Video games
TrendWatching.com calls this group Generation C
• Your ideas. Your library.
• Build ideas at your library.
• Try-on-for-size; Realize; Harmonize; Patronize your library.
• Your library: Where good ideas grow.
• Try something new. Visit your library.
• Libraries are built with ideas. Find yours here.* Ideas on this page are thanks to Jill S. Stover, Undergraduate Services Coordinator,
Virginia Commonwealth University http://librarymarketing.blogspot.com/
• Marketing Genius: Finding the Big Idea that Defines You (Peter Fisk)
• Zag (Marty Neumeier)
• Checking out the library’s new role in the community –
Minnesota Public Radio
• The Wisconsin Library User
• Designing Better Libraries (blog)
Bye Bye Stuffy, Dusty Ol’ Library...
Hello Information Spa!
Close your eyes and think about a spa experience. You are reclined wrapped up in
a fabulously warm fluffy robe and being pampered. The service is so good that your
every whim is addressed almost the minute you think of them!
Today’s modern library is not much different! They understand who their patrons are
and can proactively reach out to provide exactly what is needed when it is needed.
Librarians know that in order to catch those tech savvy college students or online ge-
niuses they need to make themselves available when and where their patrons are…
online! Blogs, online chats, instant messaging, chat live, call me now and a host of
other tools provides the growing tech savvy patron with a five-star “shopping” experi-
ence. Create a library website that is easy to use. Make sure you have a search tool
that quickly connects patrons to the right resource—whether it’s a book in the stacks
downstairs or a document on a server 1,000 miles away.
The better the experience the more often they will shop with you and the more they
will tell others about your information spa! Now if we could only figure out the aroma-
Tips for Making the Most Out of Marketing: For one of the best
resources available on optimizing websites, creating the most effec-
tive email marketing campaigns, social media marketing and online
marketing, sign up for a newsletter from Marketing Experiments:
1. If you produce your own electronic newsletter, or e-Zine,
electronic magazine, or printed newsletter, add a blurb on your new
language learning program.
2. Look at other community groups that use your facility and have them
add a blurb in their newsletter as well! Senior groups and English as
a second language groups are great targets.
3. Place notices all over your website -- especially your main page --
about the program.
4. Add a promotional sentence about the new language learning
program to all your outgoing emails, called signature in Outlook.
Choose HTML design in your software and add the TELL ME MORE
logo with a link to where someone can find out additional information
(on your website).
5. Write a press release for your new program. Find free online
news sites you can post to and expand your reach!
6. Accumulate a list of all the local newspapers that offer free
community event announcements. Note: TELL ME MORE includes a
pre-scripted article you can use! Inquire into their deadline and
submission requirements. You will also want to ask how can I
confirm receipt of your information? They don’t intentionally leave
information out, however, they move at a fast pace and things do get
lost in the shuffle.
7. Add your announcement to your telephone answering script. Give
instructions as to how to register. Don’t forget some marketing tidbits
of “what’s in it for them (WIIFM)” to register and begin learning
8. Schedule meet and greet speaking engagements to inform patrons
about this exciting new offering.
15 Tips for
Library iPod Applications
Have you considered creating an ipod ap-
plication for your library? Make it easy for
patrons to access your catalog, put a hold
on a book, and view your hours of operation.
Click here for a free open source version of
9. If you have other events, seminars, workshops, or groups using your
facility give out flyers on your language learning program. Works
well in networking groups too.
10. Take the flyers to senior and civic centers to help promote your
11. Social media outreach. It is likely that there are a bunch of folks in
your community that love to blog and Facebook about what is
happening in their backyard. Establish relationships with these
bloggers and give them access to information they can use to feed
the content devouring beast that is their website.
12. Language clubs: Are there foreign language clubs in your
community? Letting them know that language learning is available
can build some exciting word-of-mouth awareness and marketing
for your program!
13. Travel agents are another great resource for promoting your
program with! When Ethel and Bob sign up for the retirement world
cruise you bet they would like to know how to order dinner in France
Spain and Germany!
14. Find limited English speakers in your community. Many
communities support immigrants from other countries that need to
improve their English language skills—find where they may work or
where they may congregate to drive awareness of this valuable
program to assist them in improving their skills.
15. Online video. Create a fun video promoting your program that you
can post on YouTube and direct people from your website to. On
YouTube you can see how many times your video has been viewed,
what inbound links to it have been clicked and how many views your
main channel page has had. You can also measure the level of
interest in related videos by looking at those same statistics. This is
an excellent way to show how fun and cool libraries really are!
15 Tips for
Word-of-mouth / Viral marketing
Promote the use of your library by creating a video
and posting it on YouTube! Two great examples of
Roving Librarians; the M.A.P.H.A.T. Song and
Librarians Do Gaga
We wish you great success as you
increase the value of your library
and grow your patron base!
For more information regarding TELL ME MORE language
learning software program, email us to request a free demo:
email@example.com or visit our website: http://www.tellme-
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