Duluth was a wonderful venue for M.L.A. last week! We enjoyed the colors of the changing leaves while driving there. The sessions are always informative and sharing ideas with our colleagues is one of the most important benefits.
The first session I attended was Sustainable Social Media for Libraries. It is critical for libraries to be seen as online communities as well as physical ones. Facebook is used by 62% of all American adults. In Appleton, we use it extensively to promote our programs and also show pictures and videos of those programs. We are very surprised, at times, as to the number of viewers of our posts. This statistic reinforces the benefits of using Facebook! The Hennepin County librarians recommended using Instagram after an event has happened. Twitter is a little bit of everything. Hennepin County, of course, has specific people doing these tasks. In our small libraries, we do it all on a smaller scale. The Hennepin County librarians said, when in doubt, put an animal pic on social media! They are always popular. There is also Throwback Thursday on Instagram and Twitter where you can post things from the past. Chase’s Calendar is a source of daily events such as International Coffee Day!
Follow the Storyboard Road was another session on using video to tell the library’s story. This is another avenue for library promotion that can be used by any library despite their size. Videos can be used for fund raising and/or promotion. You can create your own commercial! Rochester Public Library has promoted the theme “Get S’More with Your Library Card”. Who doesn’t love S’Mores? They recommend using a DSLR camera and a tripod to shoot videos. The Go Pro camera is a very small and rugged camera for action shooting. Lighting and good audio is also very important. You should check with your local cable channel for the possibility of using their equipment and spaces.
My favorite session was Passive Programming. Passive Programs for kids are low-cost, low stress and high fun programs that are available anytime the library is open! The 1000 Books before Kindergarten program is a passive program that was discussed. Parents are asked to set a goal of reading 1000 books to their kids before they start Kindergarten. At our library, we have the parents write down the title of each book read. The presenters recommended having the parents just use circles to fill in as they read and also some recognition on a wall for every 100 books read. These ideas are something that I would like to try as we have had parents complain about the writing aspect taking too much time. Baby Bees is another program where the parent reads 100 books to the child in their first year of life. The Craft Cart is a program that they change monthly. The directions are on a whiteboard with the materials on the cart. This can be done by the child or the child and the parent independent of staff time. Check Out Clubs is another passive program. One example is the Smart Cookie Club where the child receives a dot for every book checked out to add to the cookie jar. The Library Lego Club gives the child 3 legos every time they check out books to add to a lego tower. Scavenger Hunts in the library is another program that can be changed monthly. A magnetic chalkboard for school age kids is an adhesive back chalkboard that can be placed over an old chalkboard or on a blank wall. We were inundated with numerous ideas for passive programs at this session!
Thank to Sammie for funds that made it possible for me to attend M.L.A. in Duluth. It is a great way to recharge and come home with many new ideas.