Results from the Literacy & Lifelong Working Group Consultations
Literacy & Lifelong Learning in Saskatchewan Public Libraries
- Public Library System Strategic Plan action
- Define and develop a role for public libraries
- Library staff, trustees and other organizations
- A flexible, developmental consultation process
The working group: Planning
- “ Consultation workshops”
The working group: Activities
- 2 branch staff consultative workshops
- 2 trustee consultative workshops
- Exhibits at SUMA and SARM
- Strategic Planning/Visioning
- Trustees, branch staff & community.
Parkland Regional Library
- Hosted the first consultation with the trustees on April 25, 2009 at their Annual General Meeting;
- Provided information in advance about current library activities in literacy and learning;
- Offered a presentation and a discussion around:
- What could libraries do to help users develop their literacy skills and learn whatever they need to know?
- What prevents libraries from doing this today?
- How can libraries change to achieve this ideal?
- Literacy in the library puts a face to the value of our work;
- Libraries should continue what they are already doing and look at ways to do it better;
- Affirmation was offered on a role for public libraries in supporting literacy and lifelong learning;
- Ideas for activities around literacy and promoting the value of the library emerged.
Ideas: Programs & Services
- Provide newborns with a baby pack of books;
- Familiarize new immigrants with our community;
- Offer reverse mentoring [ie. technology];
- Offer movie nights or a film festival;
- Provide information literacy services - online resources and for seniors;
- Provide health literacy services – online, host experts, reading aides;
- Offer tutoring for students;
Ideas: Attracting the “non-users”
- Public advertising (ie. value of libraries ad on TV);
- Articles in local papers about library programs and their impact;
- Newsletters to people’s homes about importance of literacy with an invitation to the library;
- Target areas around library – “how to” fliers (low cost if general mail);
- Partner with business for rewards (coupons);
- A library rewards card (ie. collect stamps for using library services and learning);
- A more active approach to literacy and learning programming is hampered by:
- The size of libraries/ the lack of space;
- The lack of volunteers and/ or staff to coordinate and run programs.
Wheatland Regional Library
- Hosted a consultation with the community librarians on September 25, 2009 at the Fall librarian workshop;
- Started with an icebreaker to get people’s creative juices flowing and conversation going;
- Followed with a presentation on Literacy and Lifelong Learning.
Celebrating Literacies in Libraries
- Information Literacy (health, workplace)
- Participants were divided into seven groups and brainstormed a single question:
- what is your library known for
- in Literacy and Lifelong Learning?”
Some of the Brainstorming Results
- The library will become more of a social centre in the community;
- The library will be a place where strengthening bridges happens between generations;
- The library will be building and maintaining partnerships with more community groups;
- The library will be increasing readership, especially with children and teens;
- The community will see the library as a place that always has something going on.
- Community librarians are looking for ways to make partnerships with community groups to build a stronger, more literate community;
- Community librarians have a willingness to try new programs (with teens and seniors in particular).
- Headquarters staff will follow-up in six to eight months around any new initiatives that emerge;
- Headquarters staff are pursuing training opportunities for community librarians and their partners.
- Hosted its first consultation with the branch librarians at their branch workshop in September 2009;
- Hosted a second consultation with the regional trustees at their fall meeting in October 2009;
Southeast Regional Library
- Incorporated the outcomes of the first meeting with the branch librarians into the second meeting with the regional trustees.
- Its 2014 [5 years from now]…what is your library known for in Literacy and lifelong Learning?
- What “one thing” will you do in your branch with the information you received?
- What literacy efforts in your local library would you be prepared to ask council to fund?
- Participants engaged easily in discussions around literacy and lifelong learning;
- Detailed lists of initiatives emerged that would:
- meet community needs, and
- fit the mission and mandate of the regional library.
- The outcomes of the two sessions were merged into one document;
- In 2010, the document was presented to local boards, who were asked to select initiatives from that list they would like to pursue at their branch;
- Boards are currently picking initiatives.
Saskatoon Public Library
- The Saskatoon Public Library consultation will be held on May 13, 2010;
- Staff, managers and trustees from the library have been invited;
- 21 representatives from community literacy agencies have been invited.
- What is the role of the Saskatoon Public Library in literacy and lifelong learning?
- We hope that by asking for input from participants inside the library and from agencies external to the library, we’ll gain a community perspective on this question.
Overall Outcomes: Support for…
- An expanded view of literacy and lifelong learning;
- Literacy and learning as central to the library mission;
- Public libraries to be actively working on all types of literacy activities;
- Library programming as important to our role in literacy and lifelong learning;
- Libraries as community centres and as a welcoming space for all;
- An active engagement with the community and patrons in shaping library programs and services;
- A renewed sense of the value of libraries and library programming.
Areas of potential change
- Libraries might need more (or improved) space;
- Library boards may need to reconsider policies;
- Branches might need a new staff position at headquarters for literacy support;
- Library systems might need to look at the funding implications.
- Where does this take us next?
- Full day of reflection on:
- The outcomes of the consultations;
- The library-literacy experience and knowledge each member brings;
- The discussions with the wider community.
- Integrated, formalized structure
- Province-wide leadership and coordination
- Realistic, suitable accountability
- Responsive community partnerships
- Community-focused program
- Equitable inclusive opportunities
- Culturally diverse approach
- Where did you notice yourself reacting strongly?
- What are the implications?
- What is one thing you can do in the next month to support a strengthened emphasis on literacy and lifelong learning?