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Adult Programs Update: Presentation to the Lawrence Public Library Board
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Adult Programs Update: Presentation to the Lawrence Public Library Board


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The heart of my presentation the the Lawrence Public Library Board of Directors earlier this week was that we should model our library as an (exciting) space for community learning, which is what I …

The heart of my presentation the the Lawrence Public Library Board of Directors earlier this week was that we should model our library as an (exciting) space for community learning, which is what I strive to make happen every day in my role as an Adult Programs Librarian. The first half dozen slides go over neat projects that we've been working on at my library, and the second half explore strategic ways to crank up our community learning a notch or two.

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  • World Coffee Tasting w/ Joe Farthing of J&S Coffee: July 19 2011 (Summer Reading)
  • (Library of Congress) The new building will allow us to completely revamp and update our approach to programs. The library as a community learning and gathering space, not just a warehouse for books. E-content (technology) and community learning should be at the forefront of this transition. More later…
  • Summary of Adult Programs from mid-February thru now:
  • Getting everyone on the same page by reading, discussing, and watching “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Multiple literacies! Liberty Hall, Watkins Museum, Signs of Life, Dole Institute, NAACP. Partnering with KU Libraries for RAL next year and beyond, making us more viable for Big Read / NEA grant funds.
  • 27% registered online. Businesses included DLI, Pachamamas, Au Marche, 715, etc. Successful because we separated adult & children. Finally, popular adult-centric events. (Photo: “European” table)
  • Connecting patrons with relevant life information; showcasing the library as a place not just for literacy, but for “information literacy.”
  • Charles Shields, Bill James, Susan Kraus, Beth Reiber, Ronald Smith, Tessa Gratton, Candice Millard, Stanley Lombardo.In the future will aim to focus even more on major authors w/ name recognition and national presence.
  • FF: drew 112 and 83 participants the first two months. Growing relationship with visual arts community. Developed poetry slam, Librarians on the Big Screen Film Series. Build a dedicated following; area for most growth. Requires involvement of additional AS Staff to move forward. Other ideas: Silent Film Festival w/ local bands, Community Theatre Book Club, Trivia Night, Knitting Circle, etc.
  • Naysayers argue that books are outdated and physical libraries are irrelevant; we have to re-brand ourselves as a community learning and meeting space instead of a warehouse for books. Have received over 20 strategic plans and policy documents from peer libraries. Focus on “patron-driven programs”(PLUMM: Public Libraries in University Mid-Sized Midwest communities.)
  • How do we showcase the new library as a community learning & meeting space? Programs that are usable & accessible… and enchanting! Guy Kawasaki uses “Enchantment” to describe leaders who are especially successful (Steve Jobs). Food, travel, fitness, fine arts, mysteries, comic books, etc. Multiple literacies: music, art, films. Accessible & visible to a broad range of demographic groups.Partnering w/ Marketing on image / tone (many libs use internal graphics depts).
  • Who can help us re-brand the building as a community learning space? KU Libraries, KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Dole Institute, Watkins Museum, Downtown Lawrence Inc., Lawrence Arts Roundtable (Theatre Lawrence, Lied Center, Lawrence Art Center), J&S Coffee, Pachamamas, 715, Au Marche
  • It’s going to take some money… but we can be strategic with what we already have, too. An end to $500 expenditures for performers that only draw a dozen patrons… ROI!
  • It’s going to take everyone! Culture shift: working with Lynn and Sherri to require all AS staff to assist with programs. This has been a challenge to initiate, but is beginning to work. The 21st century librarian – an educator and community dialogue facilitator. Tech Savvy. Someone who will showcase the new building as a community learning and meeting space. Librarians still connect others with ideas and information – but the way to achieve this has changed.
  • Sunflower Music Festival, June 2011
  • Transcript

    • 1. Adult Programs Update
      Rachel Smalter Hall || Adult Programs Librarian
      Lawrence Public Library Board of Trustees Meeting, August 15 2011
      LPL World CoffeeTasting. July 19, 2011..
    • 2. At the heart of public libraries is a belief that democracies benefit from having a place that celebrates the open exchange of ideas. How can we find new ways to do this that go beyond collections?
      - COSLA: eBook Feasibility Study for Public Libraries, 2010
      cc image via
    • 3. What we’ve been up to:
    • 4. Read Across Lawrence: public lectures, book groups, film screenings, theatre performances, social media interactions. 2584 participants, 23 community partners, 10 venues.
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    • 5. Adult Summer Reading: international lit, mixed media artwork, dessert & coffee tastings, travel writing, live music. 1567 registrants, 15 community partners, 60 attendees per event.
      LPL Adult Summer Reading Pre-Party, May 26, 2011.
    • 6. Take Charge Challenge: competition for $100,000 energy efficiency grant. Science literacy: DIY classes, art exhibits, book talks, public lectures. 6-Event Series, 8 major community partners.
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    • 7. Monthly Author Events: 3 New York Times Bestsellers, 1 debut Random House author, 1 award-winning Frommer’s author. 53 attendees per event, and growing.
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    • 8. Final Fridays, Book Clubs, Film Screenings: additional offerings to meet demand shown by community artists, book lovers & film buffs. Final Fridays has drawn 81 participants per event.
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    • 9. What’s next? The future of Adult Programs:
    • 10. Re-Branding the New Library
      -The new library building re-imagined and re-branded as a community learning and meeting space-Adult Programs strategic planning phase is underway; sharing ideas with KCPL, TSCPL, JoCo, NEKLS, and PLUMM libraries-Overwhelming trends are to: a) pay attention to return-on-investment, and b) really listen to your constituents
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    • 11. Patron-Driven Programs, “Enchantment”
      -Identify key program areas based on community interests; “their” library, not “our” library-Include multiple literacies; the library as a place to explore multi-media interests and passions-Create promotional materials that engage and enchant; revamp Adult Programs’ image and tone
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    • 12. Building Relationships
      -Identify and develop major partnerships with local businesses, philanthropic agencies and colleges-Reach out to key staff at peer libraries including KU Libraries, KCPL, TSCPL, JoCo, NEKLS, and PLUMM libraries to build relationships and generate ideas for community learning
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    • 13. Developing Funding
      -Seek and develop funding opportunities via local and national grants:KS Health Foundation, Douglas County Community Foundation, NEA, NEH, IMLS, etc.-Be strategic about program costs and consider “cost per seat” – spend funds where they count the most
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    • 14. Developing Staffing
      -Implement two-pronged staffing model that allows us to sustain increasing demand for community learning-1) A team of volunteers have been trained to assist with special events, and-2) All Adult Services staff will eventually assist with Adult Programs; rethinking what it means to be a “Librarian”.
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    • 15. Thank you.
      Questions / Comments?
      LPL Sunflower Music Festival, June 13, 2011.