Community, Access, & Advocacy--Lessons Learned from the Rural Library Sustainability Project


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South Carolina State Library, slide presentation from SCLA Conference, on our state's participation in the RLS Project from WebJunction

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Community, Access, & Advocacy--Lessons Learned from the Rural Library Sustainability Project

  1. 1. Community, Access, & Advocacy Lessons Learned from the Rural Library Sustainability Project Presented by Julie Boller, Shae Tetterton, and Felicia Vereen South Carolina State Library
  2. 2. Rural Library Sustainability Grant Program <ul><li>National grant program from WebJunction </li></ul><ul><li>Emulates Gates Foundation “think-tank” from 2004 Public Library Association meeting </li></ul><ul><li>Objective: Identify challenges specific to rural public library services and create action plans to address them </li></ul>
  3. 3. WebJunction Curriculum <ul><li>Training in Seattle in February 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Round 2: 14 State Libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Presented with curriculum created by WebJunction </li></ul><ul><li>State-specific customization </li></ul>
  4. 4. SC Customization <ul><li>Eliminated discussion of funding </li></ul><ul><li>Focused primarily on partnerships, staff training, and outreach </li></ul><ul><li>Presented an additional section on community analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Continued the library 2.0 discussion started at technology institute </li></ul><ul><li>Added “what can we do for you” section </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Workshops <ul><li>3 regional workshops in October 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Greenville, Columbia, Moncks Corner </li></ul><ul><li>Targeted public library directors and those directly involved in strategic planning </li></ul><ul><li>57 attendees from 30 county libraries </li></ul>
  6. 6. What We Learned <ul><li>Rural public libraries in South Carolina have: </li></ul><ul><li>Established mutually beneficial partnerships in even the smallest, most impoverished communities </li></ul><ul><li>Created a vast array of successful community outreach programs </li></ul>
  7. 7. Partnerships <ul><li>Local schools/school libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Literacy groups </li></ul><ul><li>Chambers of Commerce </li></ul><ul><li>First Steps </li></ul><ul><li>Friends groups </li></ul><ul><li>Civic/fraternal organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Other libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Medical services/doctors </li></ul><ul><li>Community leaders </li></ul><ul><li>State Library </li></ul>
  8. 8. Outreach Programs <ul><li>America Reads </li></ul><ul><li>Daycare/Senior care programs </li></ul><ul><li>Career assistance </li></ul><ul><li>Training for homeschoolers </li></ul><ul><li>Programs for the mentally challenged </li></ul><ul><li>Homebound services </li></ul><ul><li>Deposit collections in medical offices </li></ul><ul><li>Parent as teacher program </li></ul><ul><li>Patron training </li></ul><ul><li>Bookmobiles </li></ul>
  9. 9. Challenges <ul><li>Outreach: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Special populations (Hispanic, Teens, Homeschoolers) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Space </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Staff Training: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessing skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Availability of quality training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficulty covering duties when staff at training </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Challenges <ul><li>Advocacy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Uncomfortable with marketing and PR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“Competition” with other agencies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perception that community has no resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perception that public is apathetic </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Community: Brainstorming on Outreach <ul><li>New resident information packets </li></ul><ul><li>Storytimes in medical offices </li></ul><ul><li>Business information for small/local businesses </li></ul><ul><li>GED </li></ul><ul><li>Adopt a soldier </li></ul><ul><li>Readers advisory training for parents </li></ul><ul><li>Teen-specific programming </li></ul>
  12. 12. Community: Programming <ul><li>Generational exchange between teens and seniors </li></ul><ul><li>Gaming tournaments </li></ul><ul><li>ESL classes </li></ul><ul><li>Online safety for parents </li></ul><ul><li>How to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do holiday shopping online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Buy/sell on eBay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Buy your first home </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make holiday cards with Flickr </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Buy a computer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be safe on MySpace </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Access: Staff Training <ul><li>Critical to the expansion of services </li></ul><ul><li>23 Things </li></ul><ul><li>Use task-based training </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-training in locations and duties </li></ul><ul><li>Use staff orientation as opportunity for whole staff training </li></ul><ul><li>Combine training with other libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Look outside the library field for new skills </li></ul>
  14. 14. Access: Training Partners <ul><li>“ Experts” from other libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Computer clubs </li></ul><ul><li>Retirees </li></ul><ul><li>Retail companies </li></ul><ul><li>Attorneys </li></ul><ul><li>Other government agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Medical professionals </li></ul><ul><li>Teens </li></ul><ul><li>Financial Planners </li></ul><ul><li>State Library </li></ul>
  15. 15. Advocacy <ul><li>All about relationships </li></ul><ul><li>With: </li></ul><ul><li>Customers </li></ul><ul><li>Local funding sources </li></ul><ul><li>Parents and children </li></ul><ul><li>Teens </li></ul><ul><li>Schools (public and private) </li></ul>
  16. 16. On the Homefront <ul><li>Local funding accounts for 70-99% of total library budgets in SC public libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Local advocacy efforts can have a much greater impact </li></ul>
  17. 17. Brainstorming Advocacy <ul><li>Local events: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dinners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open house </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Host community meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be creative </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Activities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Say Thank you! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognize birthdays, anniversaries, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Show up at Council meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advocacy can happen anywhere, anytime </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Who are Advocates? <ul><li>Library Director </li></ul><ul><li>Library Board </li></ul><ul><li>Library staff </li></ul><ul><li>Friends groups </li></ul><ul><li>Customers </li></ul><ul><li>Day care centers </li></ul><ul><li>Homeschoolers </li></ul><ul><li>Parents </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Children/Teens </li></ul><ul><li>Partners </li></ul>ANYONE WHO BENEFITS FROM YOUR PROGRAMS & SERVICES ARE POTENTIAL ADVOCATES
  19. 19. What Can SCSL Do? <ul><li>Provide structured certification program for professional and paraprofessional staff </li></ul><ul><li>Provide customizable marketing materials </li></ul><ul><li>Provide opportunity for information sharing and networking </li></ul><ul><li>Set standards for library services and give them “teeth” </li></ul>
  20. 20. Resources <ul><li>South Carolina State Library website: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>LibraryTrax </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>WebJunction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http:// webjunction .org </li></ul></ul>