With few resources, a new team of Librarians at the Lillian Marrero Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia turned around a branch struggling with low morale, a crumbling building and an out of control collection. Let us show you how we increased circulation and attendance at programs, library card registrations and made mutually beneficial community partnerships in "El Centro de Oro," a Latino community in North Philadelphia.
THE BRANCHThe Lehigh Avenue Branch is a Carnegie that opened on November 20, 1906. The branch was saved from planned relocation in the 1960s. The building was rehabilitated in 1967 and, again, in 1997 as part of the Changing Lives campaign that brought Internet service to every branch. During this renovation, the original chandeliers were refurbished.In 2005, beloved Branch Manager and community advocate Lillian Marrero died. Soon after, the Branch was renamed for her. Mary and I started together at the Branch in the fall of 2009. As we’ve said, Branch staff had very low morale. Water damage inside and out had taken its toll since the 1997 renovation. And the workflows in place were not sufficient to handle the number of new materials while juggling reference and customer service and programming.
In case you can’t tell already, this is a very special library in a very important and unique neighborhood. Philadelphia, as a whole, is about 44% black and 40% white. And while the 2010 census counted 12.5% of the population as Hispanic or Latino, in 2000 it was only about 8.5%. So this branch population is different from many of our other branches. As a results, Lillian Marrero Branch maintain the largest Spanish-language collection in the Free Library of Philadelphia system.In addition, we share building space with Philabundance Community Food Shelf, the Mayor’s Office of Community Services, and the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. These offices work out of the basement of the Library, and so the entire building is a kind of social service hub for the neighborhood. We also house the Archives of the Taller Puertorriqueño. This is a society of Puerto Rican artists, artisans, and craftsmen, and has been one of the Branch’s strongest community partners.
THE NEIGHBORHOODDemographics in Zip Code 19133:· Median Household Income = $19,048· Median Household Size = 3.0· Population Ethnicity = 0.71% Asian, 40.48% Black, 57.88% Hispanic· Total Population = 25,311· Educational Attainment:High School Diploma = 31.29%§ Associates Degree = 3.35%§ Attended College = 3.14%§ College/Graduate Degree = 2.15%§ Graduate Degree = 0.99%· Age§ Median Age = 29.0 (F), 25.0 (M), 27.0 (Total)§ 18 years or older = 64%§ 65 years or older = 7.5%
Some pictures.1. Building Lehigh Branch: Green pictures. Here’s how it was when Lillian was the Branch Manager, before the 1997 renovation. 2. Lillian Marrero Branch Renovation: Orange Color. Here are the results of that renovation. 3. Total Branch Makeover: Pluralism, Integration and Welcoming Environment ( Addition of International Flags): and here are some pictures during our time working there together.
Learning objectives:Be ready to implement a Makeover Inventory, a toolkit for assessing the ways in which their branch or department could improve.Management tips for reluctant leadersParticipants will leave armed with multicultural marketing strategies that promote library services, collections and programs. Philosophy and mission:As a brand new Branch manager without permanent civil service status as one, I knew that my work at Marrero had to be based on team work, with lots of buy-in. Library assistants who had Also the Free Library’s mission: advances literacy, guides learning, and inspires curiosity. Even though that wasn’t the mission exactly, it is a way to organize some of our activities and recommendations into We inherited overcrowded shelves, a nearly a year’s worth of backlogged materials in Children’s, etc.
Time line:Three monthsobservation of staff patterns and personalitiesschedule and regularly scheduled programsthe regular patrons (& their information needs)collection, but three months is only so long. You really have to pay attention to what’s moving, if you can, but also start doing some selective weeding: the most crowded section
action: floorplan stage one: less is more. clear sightlines.sense of flow and space: you want to make the most of whatever you have; have an eye toward how the organizational scheme fits in with your layout. It should make sense.In children’s, that means books in rough age order. Board books, Picture Books, Easy Readers, Skinny Fiction, Series, Chapterbooks and Novels. But we also had some of each in Spanish. in nonfiction, this is easy. Mary also had to cope with fiction, biography (which had been broken down into several subcategories, complete with complicated sticker patterns).1) General Spanish Collection (Non-Fiction and Fiction); and 2) Puerto Rican Collection (Non-Fiction and Fiction). Weeding was key to improve organization, and the A/T Librarian weeded 2094 books in October.action: bag/outdated signage immediatelyReprint or laminate rules of conduct, other common signs. Reduce number by at least half. Keep it simple. These are your new, clean signs. They aren’t permanent. Six monthsaction: floorplan stages two-on: you’ve identified problem areas and are ready for bigger shifts. This means hours of work and you need help. Perfect way to mobilize volunteers, but I promise the books will end up out of order. You’ve had six month to get buy in from your staff to help!leisure reading section didn’t exist; adult fiction was fractured and scattered around the area, including around the computers, which obscured sightlines. It was totally disconnected from the the new releases, etc. bulky but small shelves with reference books parked in the middle of the floor acted like traffic barriers. Eliminating or relocating these shelves meant rethinking how the collection was organized. Children’s and Adult nonfiction were already interfiled. We decided to interfile most of the reference collection. Remember that our overarching philosophy to broswing and finding in the Branch was that you should only have to look one (or two, let’s be honest, we’re librarians), but really one place would be ideal. In this transition time, a book could find itself either misshelved or misfiled because of confusing labeling in four or five separate sections. action: weedingmore sections have become crowdedkeep electronic replacements in mind (CIA world factbook is better than dirty, worn and ten-year old country books, for example)We made hard choices and tried to focus on resources and attention on what our users really wanted. This meant severely diminishing our audiobook collection in favor of a large music collection. Steps to allocate audiobook money into CD budget in order to expand world music collection:Stage 1: Audiobooks weeded and refreshedStage 2: Music CDs weeded. Collection refreshed based on patron requests in Spanish and world music. Also Integrated Adult English and Spanish CDs collections into one areaStage 3: Audiobooks reevaluated. Were underperforming. Decided to shift that money (most of that money?) to musc.
signageconsistencybright/legiblethe ones I put in this phase are still there, and that’s just colored paper and lamination. That was a year and a half ago. 1 year2 years
Programsstart with any built-in audience you have. For us, that meant neighborhood preschools who came in for storytimes, a loosely affiliated group of Hispanic elderly, some of whom volunteered, and students after school. As you can imagine, our most successful and best-attended programs were preschool storytime, senior computer classes, and after-school programs (science presenters, craft programs, literacy activities.) These weren’t the only programs we did: I did Family Story and Craft programs on Saturdays, especially for Holidays; Mary organized a job skills series, etc., but these never took off. It was by honing our programming toward our three built-in audiences that overall attendance increased and we successfully expanded by word of mouth. I also built relationships with teachers whose classes made regular visits and offering ways for parents and kids to be involved at the same time.Puerto Rican artisan came and parents and children sat around a table learning the empujado craft; different from our after-school crafts that were always just kids, teen assistants and our after school leader.Summer Reading Launch Party, with family story program, library card drive, etc.AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, GET ONE-PAGE CALENDAR OF EVENTS THAT HAS TWO TO FOUR WEEKS ON IT. PATRONS NEED SOMETHING TO TAKE WITH THEM THAT’S EASY TO READ AND REFER TO.
Servicescomputer help, computer classes, job and resume help. We basically tried to accommodate whatever needs we could as users presented them. That meant helping to fill out or translate a form, troubleshooting an online application, etc. One service we used daily was having a native speaker of English and a native speaker of Spanish who are both bilingual on staff: people figured out that we could both help in either language.
Outreach (tools: FB, create a template, welcome letter, word of mouth)Template helps build a brandAlthough we maintained a Branch FB page, our most effective outreach was local and bricks-and-mortar. We went to community events--from cemetery clean-ups to meetings with the state representative, street and community health fairs, etc.--and promoted library services. Early on, a teacher or two approached me and started coming regularly. I realized that these classes could be another built-in audience, and that they would draw in their parents, so I reached out to principals and teachers in the neighborhood schools. I invited hundreds of students from one school for a Dia de los ninos/libros program in late April and then followed up with many classroom visits with story programs to promote the Summer Reading Program in May and June. I specifically promoted our Summer REading Launch at these visits, adn it worked, with a huge audience of kids I met in these classes who were coming with their parents for the first time (in a long time, at least). Partnership s(make contact with community leaders):Taller Puertorriqueno esepcially.
Makeover Inventory Toolkit:Collections (Weeding, reorganization, colorful signage) floor plan assesment: sightlines,traffic lanes, organization & browseabilityWhat are your most important sections of the library? What sections do patrons use most often? children’s fenced offleisure and popular and genre reading near CDs, DVDsbilingual collections, as inidentify special or local collections that need their own spaceStaffTraining/refreshersStaff logs; problems emerge overtimeVolunteer trainingProgramsWhat audience is already here? Survey, or observe.What are people asking for?What do you and other staff members do well? (Do more!)
Keywords that we can highlight from the Census 2010 report: ethnic diverse, self-identification and growing up population.
1. Chiqui Cartagena author of the book: ¡Latino Boom! Everything You Need to Know to Grow Your Business in the U.S. Hispanic Market reflects in the following points:Understand the three major groups inside the Latino community:* The Isolated or Spanish-speaking dominant segment* The acculturated or bilingual people * The assimilated group or English dominant people Focusing in one segment of the market can help the business grow and place the product in the right audience2. Jeannette Woodward author of the book: Creating the Customer-Driven Library: Building on the Bookstore Model presents the following points:Identifying patrons and non-users of the library must be the first step into developing a marketing planBe aware of the heterogeneous communityThe library has history and identity that is not taking advantage ofLibraries keep away potential customers because of the unwelcoming environment and the institutional feeling making this institutions an unpleasant place for customers to read or hang out3. Susana Baumann author of the book: ¡Hola amigos! A plan for Latino Outreach highlights the following points:The Latino population is the fastest growing minority group in the United StatesCultural complex and heterogeneity is really a challengeHow to interpret people’s communication behavior in a cross-cultural environmentLearning to recognize the basic level of communication-verbal and non-verbal codes-of each Spanish speaking cultureThe main goal is to provide the right services to the right group of customersInterpret cultural values and behaviors in the Latino communityNarrowing and differentiate the various market segments in the Latino community will allow the librarian to have a successfully programBring monolingual, bilingual and multilingual Latino costumers as an important driving force to the libraries in the United States
3. Susana Baumann author of the book: ¡Hola amigos! A plan for Latino Outreach highlights the following points:The Latino population is the fastest growing minority group in the United StatesCultural complex and heterogeneity is really a challengeHow to interpret people’s communication behavior in a cross-cultural environmentLearning to recognize the basic level of communication-verbal and non-verbal codes-of each Spanish speaking cultureThe main goal is to provide the right services to the right group of customersInterpret cultural values and behaviors in the Latino communityNarrowing and differentiate the various market segments in the Latino community will allow the librarian to have a successfully programBring monolingual, bilingual and multilingual Latino costumers as an important driving force to the libraries in the United States
In order to organize what LMB had to offer to the public (Latino community), we used a table with the 4 P’s of Marketing to delineate the problem, the solution, the alternatives and the results for the decisions to make. The product* Spanish dominant group: LMB offers a medium size of Spanish materials (4934 items) that includes fiction and non-fiction books, audio books, DVDs; ESL classes and a few electronic resources in the FLP database; programs, LEAP, computer access, computer classesThe price*Reduced budgetThe promotion*Introduce and expand the concept of “free library” to the Latino community and the librarians need to market “the library” as a place that welcomes minority groups*Outreach the community and visiting “the barrios” grocery stores*Partnership with neighborhood institutions *Make Contact with Spanish local media to promote library services and programs that are being offered at the library *Creation on bilingual fliers with the local branch information in order to establish aconnection between the library and the customers*Highlight the library’s desire to help this communityThe Place*Fairly busy avenue*Patrons can access this location by foot, by public transportation, by car or just walking
Strengths*The new administrator’s philosophy is to provide excellent customer services to all the multicultural clientele*Medium size Spanish collection*New releases materials in various format*Spanish library applicationsWeakness*The catalog is offered only in the English language*Most library publications are not offered in the Spanish language*No exterior and interior signage in SpanishOpportunities*Promote and publicize the library services throughout mass media*Outreach Latino leaders in the communityThreats*Negative image of the library in the Latino community*No tradition of publicl ibrary services*Fear of government institutions*Libraries are foreign environment (hours, rules, fines and fees)
Team work (inclusive language/ we & us) and “blue ocean strategies” (creating a new market of products and services/ needs and wants). Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant. Authors: Cahn kim and Renne MauborgneHow to build TRUST and a LONG TERM CREDIBILITY (these are the most important assets of the library)*Listening and proving an individual attention to the customer *Personalization and dual interaction (customers want to feel that a librarian cares forhim/her)*Repetition of information for customer’s assuranceMulticultural theme, cross-cultural communication and globalization (sense of welcoming).*Introduction of 12 world flagsInter-generational families and levels of acculturation: New immigrant, monolingual, bilingual and multicultural costumers (programs that target specifics market segment).*Celebration of El Día de los Niños*Job search skills: How to create a powerful resume*Programs target to teens: Who is Zakumi*Bilingual storytimes for children *Storytime for teens*Basic bilingual computer class for seniors*Family oriented programs (emotional response to products)*Collection Development: New creation of LGBT collection with a help of a partner branch*Integration of small English-Spanish collections: Adult music, graphic novels, LGBT, and audiobooksReaching English language speakers and cross-cultural interaction with other languages and cultures.*ESL classRespect of people’s individual culture and integration on host culture.*Cultural awareness*Cross-cultural communication (verbal and non-verbal) and behaviors patterns*Insider and outsider culture*Interaction in the host culturePartnership with community leaders.Volunteers*Bilingual as posibleTen Do’s and Don’ts* Do’s:
Ten Do’s and Don’ts:It really can’t be an ego show. You must work in a team and share responsibility. Especially if you are wary of your new role, demonstrate your competency by lworking alongside your coworkers, not “over” them. This includes delegating work appropriately, too.Think about the different between being a leader and a supervisor. Even if you are a reluctant supervisor, you have a set of professional values that should give you a vision. Vision brings leadership.Trust members of the team and be a teacher/student. New managers often know less than the experienced paraprofessionals or other library workers and it can be hard to negotiate those gaps in knowledge if you are afraid to show weakness. So build slow trust. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Make sure you have heard them correctly. Ask for help! Of course from your supervisors or other managerial supports, but also from your peers. Cultivate more than one mentor and call them. Do not micro-manage. Don’t make a huge deal out of a wrong label here and there, but do watch for systematic errors that indicate a gap in training or skills. Do not be the only gatekeeper. Do not underestimate your teamDo not always follow the book: Be flexible!!!Ten Do’s and Don’ts:
In Fiscal Year 2010, Lillian Marrero Branch presented: a total of 380 programs with 6,530 attendees; 369 programs on-site with an attendance of 5,891; 11 off-site programs with an attendance of 639; 243 on-site Adult/Teen programs with an attendance of 3,015; 1 off-site program with an attendance of 60; 81 on-site school-age programs with an attendance of 1,775; 6 off-site programs with an attendance of 466; 38 on-site preschool programs with an attendance of 929; 4 off-site preschool programs with an attendance of 113. Our LEAP After-School program was attended by 3,590 School-age students and 2,839 Teen students. Our computers were used by 32,240 patrons during the past fiscal year.
In FY2011:· Visitors to branch = 39,094· Reference questions = 12,747· Total number of programs = 237· Total program attendance = 2,044· Total items circulated = 30,463· Summer Reading Game participants, children = 379· Summer Reading Game participants, teens = 55· Computer usages = 13,065· After-school program participants, children = 1,711· After-school program participants, teen = 1,745
Total Branch Makeover
Mary Marques Joel Nichols Free Library of PhiladelphiaTotal Branch Makeovera six month action plan
The Neighborhood Median household income = $19,048 by ethnic group = 0.71% Asian 40.48% Black 57.88% Hispanic Total population = 25,311 3
educational attainmentHigh School Diploma = 31.29%Associates Degree = 3.35%Attended College = 3.14%College/Graduate Degree = 2.15%Graduate Degree = 0.99%ageMedian Age = 27.018 years or older = 64%65 years or older = 7.5% 4
7staff patterns three months lunchtimes, etc. strengths, preferencesschedule & rhythm recurring programs outside groups calendar of eventsregulars info sheet/FAQ welcome lettercollection weed most crowded sections refresh signage
months four through six floorplan browsing/finding clear sightlines flow and space signage 8
Marketing to Culturally and Diverse Latino Community: One language and 20 regional voices15
What the literature is saying about the Latino community? •Latino Population grew by 43% between 2000 and 2010 •“Hispanic origin question was based upon self-identification” •Population in the United States is changing ethnic diversity •Mexican population is the largest Hispanic group in the United States Source www.census.gov16
“one big segment”•Identify patrons and non-users of the library•Be aware of the heterogeneous community unwelcoming environment for potential customers•the“institutional feeling” that is projected to newcustomers •fastest growing community in the US •Cultural complex and heterogeneity is a challenge •communication in a cross-cultural environment •monolingual, bilingual and multilingual Latino customers 17
Are you familiar with these terms and concepts? 18
The Marketing Mix: The 4 P’s of Marketing The promise: Customer satisfaction in a welcoming environmentPRODUCT PRICE•Lillian Marrero Branch offers a medium-size of • Reduced budgetSpanish materials (4934 items)•ElectronicResources, programs, LEAP, computerclasses, computer classes, free WIFIPROMOTION PLACE•Introduced the concept of “free library” to •The library is located in a fairly busy avenuethe customers•Librarians need to market “the library” as a •Customers can access this location by foot,place that welcomes minority groups by public transportation, by car or just•Outreach the community and visit the “the walkingbarrios” grocery stores•Partnership with neighborhood institutions•Creation of bilingual fliers with branch logoto help customers identify programs andservices for that specific library•Highlight the desire to help this community 19
SWOT Analysis: Internal and external environmental factorsStrengths Weakness•New administrator’s philosophy: •The FLP catalog is being offered onlyProvide excellent customer services in the English languageto all the multicultural and diverse •Most library publications are notclientele offered in the Spanish language•Medium size Spanish collection •No exterior or interior signage in the•New releases materials in various Spanish languageformat•Spanish library applicationsOpportunities Threats•Promote and publicize the library •Negative image of the library in theservices throughout mass media and Latino populationsocial networks such as FB •No tradition of public library services•Outreach to Latino leaders in the •Fear of government institutionscommunity •Libraries are foreign environment (hours, rules, fines and fees) 20
Strategies 21Team work Build trust and long term•Inclusive language (we, us)•“Blue ocean strategies” (creating a new credibilitymarket of product and services/ needs and •Listening and providing an individualwants) attention to the customer •Personalization and dual interaction (customers want to feel that a librarian cares for him/her) •Repletion of information for customer’s assurance •Multicultural theme , cross-cultural communication and globalization (sense of welcoming)Cultural awareness Outreach and partnership•Introduction of world flags •Volunteers•Inter-generational families and levels of •Community leadersacculturation •Connectors•Programs design to specific target markets: •Mass mediaInclusion of new collections: LGBT and smallbilingual Spanish/English collections(audiobooks, music and graphic novels)
parting tipsIt really can’t be an ego show.Think about the different between being a leader and a supervisor.Trust members of the team and be a teacher/student.Give people the benefit of the doubt.Ask for helpDo not micro-manage.Do not be the only gatekeeper.Be flexible 22