Customer-Focused Library by Joseph Matthews

I may be late to the game in reading this book, but I enjoyed all 95 pages of it. The thesis is pretty simple – listen to your customers and give them what they want, need and deserve. 

It was interesting to begin thinking about what vestiges of “traditional” library service I still see in this library: long and complex bib records, unused collections, spine-out efficiency shelving, long call numbers, jargon in our signage, and an online catalog that’s a far cry from Google.

At our recent staff meeting, when we discussed a new customer code of conduct policy, I took to heart this question: “Why do staff fall back on policy rather than use good judgment to arrive at a win-win situation?” (p. 10).  I think we came up with ‘rules’ that will allow the customer-facing staff to be flexible and customer-focused while still enforcing them.

Lost patrons – those people who get a new card and then never use it.  I don’t know who they are – do you?  Mr. M states that a better collection brings in lost users, while a new/better space appeals to non-users.

Dover Public Library created Identity-related reasons to visit:  Experience seekers, looking for a venue and entertainment | Explorers who just love to learn | Facilitators, like a parent helping a child | Patrons who feel a sense of belonging to the library | Scholars and researches (genealogists) | Spiritual Pilgrims who see the library as a place of reflection | Hobbyists who look to further their interest

A goal should be to reach beyond the lowest need of a customer for a safe and clean environment, but to create a place where the customer is “going to be surprised and delighted by a transformational experience.” (p. 19).  I wonder if this is where the Anythink Library idea came from??

You can earn new customers by improving their quality of life = create unique and compelling value that they want to share with others.  Examples for each of the types listed above:

  • Experience seekers – program with a rolling display and follow-up discussion on the library blog
  • Explorers – merchandise the collection FACE OUT and mix books with movies and music
  • Problem solvers – reference, user-friendly online catalog and chat reference
  • Facilitators – early hours, reading lists
  • Patrons – loyalty cards, limited edition bags, Gold card, VIP hours
  • Scholars – digitize resources and improve the catalog
  • Pilgrims – Comfortable seats, quiet, opportunities to meet like-minded people (yoga class!)
  • Hobbyist – partner with clubs.
    • My Ideas: Put out new knitting books on Monday for sit n knit, pull read alikes for the book club, start a gaming club with the videogame collection

Library As Place – make available shared resources to stimulate imagination and inquiry. Nurture development of culture and commerce. (p. 27) Foster convergence and co-locate cultural facilities next to libraries.  Simplify and create ‘information neighborhoods’.

First Impressions and Usability – face out, bookstore display units. 50% of visitors are here less than 15 minutes!  Merchandise.  Consider layout signage clues, traffic flow, lighting, carpet color.

Bookstore model: health and wellness | Home and Garden | How it Works | Computers | Facts & Trivia | Self-Help with Customer-centered classification to make it Self-Service and Self-Navigating. 2/3 of all visitors come to the library WITHOUT an idea of what they want.  Implications:

  • Merchandise the highest used sections first and put impulse circs near the desk
  • OPAC – add subject area into the Call number (We are immediately changing both our 920 and 921 call number schemes to just BIO.  We already moved the collection to the start of non-fiction, but now it will hopefully be even more user-friendly.)
  • Staffing Mix – refresh displays all the time and constantly reshelve most popular/new/lucky day books
  • Space/Furniture – WEED, look at return on investment, make incremental improvements
  • Jargon/Tradition – Are spine labels for fiction even needed??  Dewey is complicated and ‘secret’ to many people

Services – create service encounters that are meaningful and pleasant

Like in an open kitchen, have visibility to encourage customer engagement, positive feelings and perceptions.  Engage patrons – ask, review, rank, get feedback, discuss.  Consider implementing ‘shift meetings’ with staff to reinforce that we can all choose to be positive and friendly.  Look at things from the customer’s perspective – be them – use the library from their point-of-view.

Staff who can break rules to help a customer are creating advocates. (p. 51).  Rules should enhance customer service – they are not an excuse to say no.  Get to YES – solutions, not excuses.  “Great! I’m sure there’s a way…” “No problem! We can do that.”

WAY FINDING (all caps because this is a huge area of improvement at my library)

Physical space & feeling a sense of being in control is VITAL.  Use color, landmarks, and effective signs at decision points. Are sight-lines clear?  Is there visual clutter (or actual clutter)? Give a camera to a patron and have them take pictures of the confusing bits.

New patrons – are they given orientation of the library’s layout, collections, services, calendar?  How do we retain customers?  50% leave for good after 4 years.  Why?  Develop scripts to help  – “let’s see how we can make this work for you.” “Our records show a balance, does this sound right?” Consider a dress code or uniform shirt.  Train staff to listen, understand, be memorable, and responsive.

Web Site

Who uses a web site and why?  Does it have 24/7 reference or a link to Ask a Librarian?  Create advocates and build bridges with awareness > participation > engagement > conversation > loyalty

  • Function of the site – what use is it? What can be accomplished by visiting? Oral histories? catalog? ebooks?
  • Content – what does a visitor want to know?
  • Brand – what will they remember? Photos of customers? Submit photos to flickr?

Staff – our competitive advantage.  Foster innovation and superior customer service.  Hire creative and adaptive people who Enjoy People – positive attitude and flexibility

Mentor new staff on understanding the culture of the library – learn the rules and how to apply them in this environment.  Cross train.

Ask new staff:  what was your 1st impression? what could improve aesthetics inside and out? what are we doing that surprised you? what aren’t we doing? what about the Web site and/or signage? (p. 64)

For the change-resistant, the Director must paint a picture of what a customer-focused library will look and act like.  Roving staff are both recognizable and available to be face-to-face with the customers.

Recognizing Staff: Find their strengths and share stories | Publicize staff exploits | Say Thank you more often | Encourage others to share staff activities that delight customers | Write hand-written thank you notes | Celebrate with food/flowers | Spend more time walking around the library to discover WOW moments.

Experiment, tinker and get feedback.  Remember these customer expectations: Reliability (accuracy) | Assurance (convey trust/confidence) | Empathy (care/treat as individuals) | Responsiveness (proactive help) | Tangibles (appearance)

Ask: Am I adding value to the lives of customers? “We must become the change we want to see.” – Ghandi

What do we do and can we do to WOW our visitors?  “Customers want an intuitive experience that draws them and excites and delights them.” (p. 74) Customers want to find what they want without obstacles and barriers – how can we help?

5 Laws of Library Science by S.R. Ranganathans:  Books are for use (not on chains any more), Every Reader his or hear book (market segment), Every book its reader (many ways to discover it), Save the time of the reader, Library is a growing organism (reinvention – library changes with community)

First Time Visitors – are new books labeled?  What’s the wait for a best seller? What are the computer surroundings like? Do we THANK our visitors for coming?

Points of Pain – what are they?  What services are offered and how are they delivered?  Need to understand the needs of each market segment.  First understand the problem, then find its solution. Learn about the customers ethnography – Customer Facing Staff: Questions, issues, training needs – go to them first.  They have the most face-to-face time with the customer.

Organized Abandonment – built in structures to manage change.  Candid self-reflection and the need to see strengths and weaknesses

Embrace Innovation:

  1. Is this a library-centric tradition?  Is that tradition creating an obstacle?
  2. Belief of all?  Alternative examples to compare/contrast?
  3. Belief serves customer or staff? if alternative is implemented, what is the impact on customers?
  4. Can we imagine alternatives for what the library is or is it self-fulfilling?
  5. Bold enough alternative?  Big change? What new service models in the private sector should we look to adopt?

Listening to the customers – conducing experiments (pilot programs).

Cycle for Innovation: 

  1. Strategy (set a bold goal and how it will be accomplished (p.80))
  2. Management – Listen and learn; experiment with service delivery models; design and implement – “We need to develop and maintain a sense of urgency.” John Kotter
  3. Service – Excellent customer service means being aware of your choice of language, body language and getting OUT from behind the desk
  4. Build a culture of innovation, not inertia. Move from don’t, won’t, can’t to YES, and…

Design from field observations – what are the needs, possibilities, ideas, and prototypes?

Better understanding of Services – does staff understand and can communicate the benefits of having an HVL card?  What language do we use?  Borrowing or checking out?  Using the Library or services? Research or Resources

Touch points of user design:  Useful | Usable | Desirable | Findable | Accessible | Credible | Valuable

Changes made as a consequence of reading this book:

  • I walk the perimeter and work the desk at least twice a day
  • 920/921 to BIO change
  • Customer Code of Conduct
  • Discussion with Pam about scripts
  • Thinking about how to move LP and movie collections farther away from patron computers
  • Ordered additional copies of titles with high holds in all formats/collections
  • Working to update floorplan/map to help with orientation of new patrons
  • Adjusted the Web site language and added breadcrumbs

 

 

 

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2015 Year End Review

Every year, I like to review what’s been accomplished – it provides perspective and helps me remember just how much we get done in a year.  For 2015, I’ve been keeping track throughout the year and this is the wrap up.  So my next exercise needs to be 2016 goals!

  • craneHVAC Replacement – Done as of December 21 with the Keystone Grant.   We need to install a programmable thermostat in the workroom and fix two small leaks in the roof.  The Township has agreed to upgrade the HVAC for the Community Room in spring 2016, so we will have AC this summer!
  • Lease – Done in April.  Facilitated by a successful cooperative effort with the Friends to pass a Memorandum of Understanding and accompanied by a letter requesting continued use of the Book Room by the Friends.  We took over the Community Room (adding to the Library’s square footage) in January 2016. The Board also approved a new photo policy in March.
  • henna three handsTeen Programs – 43 programs in 2015 v. 14 in 2014. Attendance in 2015 was 432 v. 126 in 2014. Jessica was awarded a Teen Reading Lounge grant ($2,000 in total, with extension) that brought in a great group and they did some cool things, like henna tattoos and a tie-dye party. Goal for 2016: Teen Advisory Group.  We have two HS Student liaisons on the Board who have helped generate interest in Library programs.
  • ESL – After an initial attempt, I decided that the literacy programs at Abington Library are so close that this was an unnecessary duplication of effort. The foreign fiction free lending library is popular and the Friends pull foreign books from the donations for us to add.
  • Strategic Plan – Done and in use as of February 2016. I’m very proud of the work the Board and my staff have done in creating this document.  I think it gives us a good, positive framework for future growth.
  • IMG_4194Fundraising – The Annual Appeal for 2014 bled into 2015, but did well and started the new Endowment with $11,500. We budgeted $22,250 and brought in $22,437 in 2015.  The Olive Lucy olive oil tasting during Summer Reading went well and Pam organized a Bertucci’s “Dining for Dollars” event in November that we would like to repeat in 2016.  The 2015 Annual Appeal went out in November. We also add more programs, like the weekly Library Yoga, that require a small fee to cover costs.
  • Library Card Sign-up Month – Pam took the lead on this and cultivated 5 new partners, including the Lower Moreland Business Association.  I am thrilled that we attended every Back to School Night – we have strengthened our relationships with the District, the Township, Bryn Athyn (via the Friends and our Liaison), and Fire Company (participated in Summer Reading).
  • Sunday Hours – A go for 2016, with support from the Township.  We hired three new Library Assistants (one vacancy and 2 new positions) and started Sunday Hours on Jan. 31.
  • biographies movedCollection Development – We rely on standing orders for new fiction and enhance the collection with input from customers and staff.  Circulation continues to rise and I look at turn statistics to see how our methodology is working.   Weeding was a hit – I completed a first pass of adult non-fiction.  With help from 5 CAPS student volunteers, we moved the Biography section to the beginning of NF, across from Mysteries and then shifted NF creating taller shelves to accommodate art and architecture books.  They also shifted the entire Fiction collection and interfiled the mass market paperbacks into the collection, plus we moved the Vacation Reads (trade paperbacks) closer to Tetjana for off-season access. The CAPS students also made a fun video Tour of the Library: http://tinyurl.com/njyzvoa
  • Quarterly HAT Meetings with staff – For 2016, I have a weekly standing meeting with Pam and we’ve already had two staff meetings (the first a full-day staff in-service).  Department Head meetings are going to be crucial, especially as we begin to implement the Strategic Plan.
  • Update Personnel and Collection Development Policies – In progress, along with a new Meeting Room policy, lease and Vending machine contract.
  • Programming – Jane and Pam are helping with 2016 programs. Jane’s focus is seniors, Pam started a Coloring Book Club in 2016, and I have booked at least one ‘big name’ program for February, March, April and May.
    gllynnis pennypackHighlights from 2015:

    • Samuel D. Burris Speaks (Humanities Council Speaker) in February
    • Friends program with Babbie Posey – Women Can Fly Too – in March had 78 people come out for a 2 pm program
    • ABCs of Estate Planning, Walking Tour of Pennypack trail, and Sonnet Appreciation workshops with Lynn Levin in April
    • Lisa Scottoline in May and Local Gems: Pennypack Trail talk with the Township, County and Larry Eastwood (local railroad historian) were both hits.  Debbie helped us organize a mini comic-con on May 2, before she left us for full-time work.
    • paintingHighlight of Adult Summer Reading was Kathleen’s “Escape Artist” paint-along program.
    • Glynnis and Diane put on an amazing Summer Reading Program – another record-breaker.  Diane organized “Science of Superheroes” workshops, Glynnis incorporated crafternoons and we had a blow-out party in the back yard for the wrap up.  Diane left us at the end of the summer and Jess was hired as the new Youth Services Associate.
    • Again, we attended EVERY Back to School Night in September (split between Pam, Glynnis, Mariel and me). We also had Rachel Brandt and Joan Fesmire Doan help us with a Historical Walking Tour on September 12.
    • We had Linda Kenyon as Julia Child in October and a docent from the Craft Show present with a special appearance by local designer Annina King.
    • Glynnis and Jessica filled the library for Star Wars Day, featuring characters from the 501st Legion. We ‘sold’ all 150 free tickets.
    • Staff BrunchDecember’s big program was the 25th Annual Young Authors Gala.  The Friends also threw us a great staff appreciation brunch
  • Digitization Project – We scanned some old postcards from Mrs. Fesmire Doan and I hope to get them on a ‘Local History’ page of the new Web site.  The flatbed ‘scanning station’ is used more than I expected and I’m not ready to give up on this dream.
  • Staff Tech Competencies – In January 2016 we had Penny Talbert from Ephrata come and speak about her library’s competencies program at our staff in service day.  Pam set up a staff wiki.
  • Finch Program – Asked for and received support from the Friends to set up the new Friends Learning Lab (as it was re-named by the Board in May) with a ceiling mounted projector, surround sound, black-out window screen and electronic projection screen oriented at the back of the room.  We re-painted, hiding the old ‘painted on’ screens and are looking for new carpet. The Friends have also agreed to purchase 10 laptops and 10 iPads, plus a charging station and Shawna added dedicated wifi to the room and will be pulling cables, as well, for wall-sockets. Maybe next year for robotics…
  • EITC Grant – In progress.
  • smartline lite wp themeNew Web Site – in Early January 2016 the Web site moved to WordPress. Working out kinks.
  • New Calendar and Online Registration Software – We went with EventKeeper and EK Rooms for our online calendar and meeting room management software.
  • MCLINC Strategic Planning Committee – We finished up the plan and I will be Secretary in 2016.
  • Improve Browse-ability of the Collection – still a goal and I included a ‘bookstore model’ goal in the Strategic Plan!
  • Taste of Culture Fall Event did not materialize, however the School District’s Diversity Committee is planning some fun things we may be able to support in 2016.
  • Trustee Academy – We watched about half of the Trustee Academy webinars at Board meetings and several Trustees watch the remainder on their won. The Board worked very well together on the new Strategic Plan and we have the goal to organize a retreat in 2016.
  • New Paint – The Township helped us out with additional painting and repairs to the stairwell windows, lower level foyer and hallway.  After repairs are made to the lower entrance (leak), they’ll finish the final repairs up here.  It’s bright, clean and already scuffed…but that just means we’re busy and bustling.  With last year’s new stucco, there are some very visible improvements to the building.
  • ElowynOther highlights: Elowyn born Jan. 13, Volunteer Appreciation Tea Pam organized April 24, Glynnis started a new Book Worm book club for 1st-2nd graders, we had multiple crafternoons involving all staff, Jane’s Friday Movies (most successful series of programs aside from Summer Reading), we launched the 2015 Annual Appeal in November,  and I met regularly with the Township Manager throughout the year.
  • Continuing Education: workshop “Promoting Your Library in the Digital Age” at Doylestown with Ben Bizzle, all staff completed the Extreme Customer Service, Every Time online course for a special evening STaff meeting Oct. 9, Kansas Library Association conference, “A Strong Foundation: Library Master Planning” webinar, and Communication and Relationship Building for Leaders workshop

 

A Strong Foundation: Library Master Planning Webinar

Listened June 30, 2015 | Archived Webinar by Library Journal

Presented by: Margaret Sullivan Studio, McMillan Pazdan Smith, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, and Library Journal

Panelists:

  • Margaret Sullivan – Principal, Margaret Sullivan Studio
  • David Moore – AIA, ALA, LEED AP BD+C, NCARB, Project Architect, McMillan Pazdan Smith
  • Peter Pearson – President, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library; Lead Consultant for Library Strategies, a consulting group of The Friends
  • Moderator – Emily Puckett Rodgers – Project Coordinator, New Landmark Libraries

CE: 1 hour

Speaker 1: Margaret Sullivan

Library Master Plan is the framework for the future – it’s is flexible and allows for growth 20+ years into the future.
The process:

  • Articulate the Library’s Vision, values, and brand identity | Build a strong leadership group | Gather community data
  • Research Trends – Visit “Center for the Future of Libraries” and look at market segment data.
  • Positive User Experience
    • Who are the users?
    • How did they get here?
    • Why are they here
    • What activities will the participate in?
    • What are their interests?
    • Write User Narratives of Example Patrons
  • Identify the Library’s key Activities and Programs
    • Then, let the architects find the patterns for the spaces and places that will enable the programs to be successful.
  • Why? Identify the Learning Outcomes and Culture of the institution
  • It’s never to early to Pin design ideas
  • Ask and identify your library’s approach to:
    • Collections – type, shelf height, % of floor space, holds, etc.
    • Technology – iPads, eReaders, laptops, charging stations (MacBook Pro with Adobe Creative Suite 6…if we’re going to dream)
    • Special Equipment – printers, 3D printers, Sound booths, Green screens, kilns(!), sewing machines, (cake pans)
  • Look Around You
    • Visit libraries and businesses – maker spaces, for example
    • Connect with Experts – Ask for involvement early in the project to promote engagement and buy in.
    • Have Fun – Interactive workshops with patrons, stakeholders, staff
    • Develop a sense of ownership and engagement about the project with the community
  • Holistic Service Model
    • Staffing and Operations connects to
    • Customer Experience connects to
    • Place Making connects back to Staffing
    • All three need FUNDING to ensure success
  • Articulate the Project and Goals

Speaker 2: David Moore – Architect from Greenville, NC.

Road Map Approach (as written about in November 2011 Library Journal article about Clemson Library)

This Approach develops small steps and improvements to turn the “Before” into “After”

  • Identify Needs First – get input, input, input
  • Conceptual Solutions and ‘test fit’ the ideas, identifying shortcomings
  • Turn Challenges into Solutions and Rearrange Your Space (according to a phased master road map)  Examples shown had: better sight lines, increased seating, more shelving and more study spaces
  • Phased Implementation or “Eating the Elephant One Bite at a Time”
    • Each phase is self-contained, meaning nothing feels unfinished when the phase is over
    • Ideally, you only move things once (twice at the most if you have to go to temp housing)
    • Complete little interventions as funds allow
    • Each phase has it’s own Cost Estimates: Scope of work for construction costs + FF&E estimates + professional fees = estimate
  • Benefits:
    • initiates momentum for positive change
    • Allows you to take baby steps
    • Enables better space sooner
    • Allows for constant use and continual tweaking
    • Provides flexibility
    • Demonstrates good stewardship of resources
    • Phases are practical and planned by order of importance – one phase builds for another

Speaker 3: Role of Private Funding in Capital Projects with
Peter Pearson, President of the St. Paul Friends of the Library
LibraryStrategiesConsulting.org

Capital Campaign Includes:

  1. Final project plan
  2. Obtain public funding commitment (grants? Township funds? Existing CIF?)
  3. Access architectural renderings
  4. Build on history of annual fundraising – prepares donors for a capital campaign

Process:

  1. Feasibility Study
    • A Neutral third-party person will interview potential donors to share idea and gauge interest
    • Cost ranges from $20,000-30,000 depending on how many people are interviewed.
    • If you have no contacts within the donor’s world, start with your annual fundraising supports
    • Aim for one lead gift that covers 15% of the project costs
    • The neutral person will identify, during the course of the interviews, concerns to be addressed and reveal potential barriers (such as feelings about leadership, staff, etc.)
    • Learn how donors feel about the stewardship and leadership – perceptions.  Outside person can ask the hard questions and can play Devil’s advocate
    • Find out what inspires potential donors
    • It’s a cultivation tool – prepares donors for the “Ask” – they can begin planning if they’re excited about the project
    • Interviews are an opportunity to redefine old ideas about libraries
    • Largest donors are often people who do not use the library
  2. Campaign Leadership
    • Create a cabinet group with new and existing leaders
    • Identify possible campaign leaders during the interviews – people who are enthusiastic joiners
  3. Case Statement
    • Use to help motivate donors
    • Describe the project
  4. Quite Phase
    • Personally ask major donors to contribute
    • Major donors would be giving $100,000+
    • Many projects expect 85%+ of costs to be covered by Major Donors
    • Recruit a Chair – someone persuasive who “you can’t say no to”
    • Make a case for support
    • Personally solicit lead donors (often at their house)
    • Thank them and plan on a Donor Wall
  5. Public Phase
    • Smaller gifts
    • Marketing campaign
    • Plan a public party to celebrate the successful end of the project
  6. Beyond the Campaign
    • Raise visibility of the library in the community and among donors
    • Keep donors – convert Campaign donors to annual donors

This was definitely worth hour of time to watch.  Great information.

 

Ben Bizzle Promoting Your Library in the Digital Age

May 14, 2015 at the Doylestown Branch of the Bucks County Library System | CE: 2.5 hours

Topics: Library Web site, Programming, Traditional Marketing and Social Media

Intro: Ben Bizzle is one of several movers/shakers behind the company Library Market and author of Start a Revolution: Stop Acting Like a Library. He is also the director of technology at the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library.

Website:

  • Library Web sites ARE our Digital Library and we are JUDGED accordingly.
    A crap Web site = low expectations of the library in general.
  • The Web site can be the DIGITAL HUB, pushing people back into the Library’s front door.
  • The “Trinity of Evil” is our competition: Google, Amazon and Wikipedia because there is no longer a ‘dying need’ for a cited source
  • Web sites HAVE TO BE available on All Platforms: PC, tablet and phone
  • Best format for Web sites is the F-Pattern:
    • Focus on 1. Header, 2. Sub-header and 3. Left-hand side of the page for most important information on the site.
    • Nielsen’s F-Pattern priorities – “F-Shaped Pattern for Reading Web Content” (with cool heat-map images of eye movement on Web sites).
  • Discussion of the Example site Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library (AR):
    • Slides for events, services, card application – anything current and up-to-date
    • 3 Click Rule – have a THIN and B R O A D site
    • Menu drop downs from Main bar
    • Use the Language of the Common Person!  “Research” v. “Databases”
    • Events Calendar – Easier to read a column:
      May 15 – Event 1 blah, blah (Enough info for a ‘buying decision’ – title, info, photos
      May 15 – Event 2 blah, blah
      May 15 – Event 3 blah, blah
    • Online Registration – They set up PCs in the kids section for Summer Reading registration
      Provides DATA – school, reading level, email for automated reminders
  • Language plug in to increase accessibility
  • Children’s and Teen pages have typography and colors similar, but different, from main site

Programming is King:

  • “Fun and Sexy” – Sell the Sizzle.  If you have a BAD program, you LIED and diminish trust that the organization will have a GOOD program in the future
  • Examples:
    • Pete the Cat concert at the Mall
    • Zombie Prom teen event on a Friday night with 63 teens attending
    • Arts on the Lawn – craft show and market. 50 vendors, 10 x 10 space. Repeat twice a year with themes (Renaissance, Vaudeville, etc.)
    • Make a cool program cooler and know it’s OK to FAIL.  Example: Lunch and Learn – wasn’t interesting or enticing enough to give up lunch hour for until they brought in animals!

Traditional Marketing:

  • Postcards, bookmarks, READ posters, Press releases, etc. all done but…Focus on new, fun and creative ideas.
  • Examples from Jonesboro – had inexpensive access to several billboards around town, which they used to advertise library with fun and creative themes.
    • Year One: eCards
    • Year Two: Typography
    • Year Three: Infomercial parodies using catch phrases from TV
    • Year Four: Guerrilla Marketing with Bansky-inspired street art (complete with a barcode that links to the Library’s phone number)
      Bizzle Example 3
  • Summer Guide, because it’s more than just reading!
    • Sell Fun (crafts) and Deliver Steak (books)
  • Keep It Simple – bright colors, clean graphics, simple designs
    Bizzle Example
  • Take Inspiration wherever you can get it – while brainstorming at the bar, Ben and his creative team had an idea: Why not advertise the library on coasters!!
    • Funny – each coaster has a joke, “Add a Word, Ruin a Book”
      Ex.: “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe Malfunction”
      Ex.: “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Parlor”
      Ex.: “50 shades of Grey’s Anatomy”
    • 3,000 coasters cost $800 and with 15,000 drinkers reading the, the cost was $0.053 per drinker
    • Each coaster included: picture, joke, the name of the library and the Web site.
    • From Advertisement to Delivery in Real Time.  By adding the Web site, you get instant delivery of service…from a smart phone…at the bar.
      Bizzle Example 2
  • EXPOSURE – Keep the Library out and about in the community, and get people talking about the library using fun, funny, quirky, and engaging ideas.

Social Media – Not Just a Bunch of Cat Pics

  • Image library available Here.
  • “Facebook is the only effective method for advertising library events.”
  • Twitter is more ‘throw and hope’ because it’s not as engaging
  • Pinterest isn’t social media, but has value as a resource
  • Facebook Advertising:
    • Paid ads reach the intended audience in your area.
    • Example: Henna tattoo event for 13-18 year olds in Jonesboro.
    • FB Ad for $50 had 10,000 impressions = 50 teens came to event.
    • Idea – Summer Reading ad in late June with a link to the Web page/post with information and registration link.
    • Pair with Google Analytics to get DATA
    • Increase Value of services – Created a FB ad for Freegal “3 Free Song Downloads each week with your library card” and a link to the service. With the promotion, use of the service increases, making the ROI better.  Stewardship!
    • Data: Use stats before and after ad runs.  More use = database/service is value goes up
    • What other databases and services would benefit from a $50 ad??

2015 Goals – Mid-year Update

It’s Oct. 21 – time for another progress report.

Here are my personal and/or library goals for 2015:

  • Replace the HVAC using our Keystone grant of $33,900, with the Township.
    Update: Install date in 4-6 weeks.  Now, we just need to figure out how to fix the Community Room HVAC!
  • Work with the Township and Board on our new lease.
    Update: Lease is done! Passed!  Working on the 2016 budget to see how we will manage this great space!
  • Support the growth of our Teen programs – work with the team to find new opportunities for programs, services, and collections for this important group.  They gave us really great ideas during the forums (like test-prep programs) and it’s now on us to make them happen!  The Teen Reading Lounge grant and program from the PHC that Jessica secured for us is a great start.
    Update: The Teen Reading Lounge grant has been extended through the end of the year with another $500 attached, so they will be doing some ceramic sculpting!  Jessica is our new Youth Services Associate, an expanded position.  Diane left us to teach, but I hope she may return for a 2016 Library Lab!
  • Launch an ESL Conversation Class and order/catalog the Foreign Fiction Collection, sponsored by the Friends.
    Update: The foreign fiction free lending library is still popular.  Abington Library has a strong literacy program and I am content to utilize their program.
  • Work with the Board to complete the Strategic Plan and then start using it to make decisions.
    Update: We are working on the Action Plan.
  • Raise Funds while having Fun – We have Lisa Scottoline booked, V. P. almost booked and have ideas for other fundraisers, like a beer tasting or olive oil tasting.  It’s time to secure sponsors.
    Update:  Lisa, Olive Lucy and the fall Appeal comes out later this month. We have Valerie Plame scheduled for our next author brunch at Philmont on Sunday, April 10.
  • Library Card Sign-up Month – this is a goal of Pam’s, which I support and want to help organize.
    Update: We have five business partners and represented the library at EVERY back to school night.
  • Sunday Hours – is it possible?  Can we get the necessary funds through sponsors?  Will anyone actually want to work on a Sunday afternoon?
    Update: Added this to the 2016 Budget, which we presented to the Township Oct. 6.  I hope my arguments were compelling enough to garner the extra financial support needed to make this strategic goal a reality.
  • Monthly Collection Development – review and order regularly.  Weed non-fiction and find quality replacements so there’s at least one book published after 2010 on the shelf.
    Update: Standing orders guarantee best-sellers arrive regularly.
  • Programming – book, promote, repeat.
    Update: Almost done with Fall.  If it’s a program the folks want, they show up!  I’m happy with our variety and breadth of programming.  Any more and we’ll face burn out.
  • Digitization and Archive project (this is a dream, but I’m putting it up here as are minder).  We should apply to participate in the Access PA Digital Repository, scan our old photos and provide access to them online before carefully storing them in accordance with accepted archiving practices.
    Update: We now have a small flatbed scanner out in the public as a ‘scanning station’ and discussed this dream at the Budget presentation – there are some history-loving Commissioners…
  • Develop Staff Tech Competencies CE program using the Ephrata model.  We’re good, but can always learn more about technology.
    Update: Pam created a fun true/false quiz that will help us assess staff knowledge at this point and should help with a training plan.
  • Staff want to have the Finch Program – a fun robotics program for grade-schoolers.
    Update: Asked the Friends for a Learning Lab with laptops and iPads for 2016!
  • EITC Grant for Summer Reading Program in 2016.  Hatboro has done very well with this grant and now that I know about it, I want to see if we can benefit, as well.
    Update: Still on my radar.

Additions:

  • Move Web site to a Content Management System so staff can keep it up-to-date and merge the News Blog with the Web site.
    Update: We picked WordPress and this is on the calendar for winter break.
  • MCLINC Strategic Planning Committee.
    Update: I’ve enjoyed this process and getting to know some of the other librarians in the county better.
  • Improve the Browse-ability of the Collection.
    Update: Still need new signage.
  • Enhance the Friends Media Room (formerly called the multi-purpose or storytime room).
    Update: The Board voted to rename the room in honor of the Friends at the May Board meeting.  The new AV equipment will be installed in November.
  • Taste of Culture Fall Event, possibly with an Asian focus and feature a tasting of soups.
    Update: May have to postpone.

2014 Year End Post

Another year, another post?  Amazing how working in a busy public library and living in a vibrant city sucks away at your blogging time.  So, as part of my self-assigned Annual Review..I’m going to re-cap. General themes to watch: increases in circulation, the search for the right new team members and karma (in the positive attracts positive sense).

January – circ: 8,778

  • 60th Anniversary event with Larry Kane signLarry Kane spoke at our 60th Anniversary Brunch on Jan. 5, 2014 – we had 146 attend in spite of icy sleet and gave away copies of “When They Were Boys.”  We got good media coverage, including an article in the Midweek Wire.  This was billed as a Celebration, but with the sponsorships from HV Bank, the Friends and the Brauns, it turned into a fundraiser!  As a bonus, a hand-made quilt by Friend Andee Polokoff brought in $520, which they donated back to the Library (and it eventually bought a new picnic table).  My thanks to Board Member Miryam, who negotiated with the country club, wrote the press release and coordinated the days events.  This wouldn’t and couldn’t have been done without her. Also, Ingram was great to work with – we could order, then order more and in the end, send a bunch of books back that we didn’t need.
  • On January 9, the Friends and Library Board signed a Memorandum of Understanding, as drafted by the Association of Library Trustee Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF).  This was significant as a symbol of the renewed trust between the Friends and the Library, something I had worked hard to re-establish.
  • The Friends approved $34,550 in Wish List expenditures, including a paperback book standing order, a loveseat for the children’s department, and the Summer Reading program.  We also worked on a more efficient method of managing reimbursement requests that rely on quarterly QB reports, trusting that we accounted for expenditures correctly.
  • We joined the Geek the Library awareness campaign – something Pam really wanted and supported by taking a very active role in promoting.
  • Hosted two local authors: Cubby Moreland and children’s author Dean Morey on Jan. 14 and Jan. 16.
  • On Jan. 26, Pam, Tetjana, Glynnis, Christina, Shawna, Rhonda, Rita, Miryam and I visited the exhibit hall of ALA midwinter and had dim sum in Chinatown.  Good time (and good idea Pam had to ask Ingram for free passes)!
  • Strategic Planning Update: Met Jan. 28 and put together a work plan and decided to hire Catalyst (Liz V. as our consultant), identify stakeholders and move forward on community forums and a customer survey.
  • On Jan. 21, we sent a formal letter to our neighbors in the Bryn Athyn Borough to invite a representative of the Borough to join the Board as a nonvoting member.  Again, this was a move we had discussed for some time and knew we wanted to strengthen the relationship with our neighbors.
  • We had 9 volunteers donate 71 hours of time.  This includes teens and adults who applied and were then interviewed and trained by Pam.  She’s amazing and this is a statistic to watch…

February – circ: 8,556

  • Staff In-Service Feb. 17 – I made a presentation to the staff about the Geek the Library campaign and together we explored various online databases and subscription services, like Zinio and OverDrive.
  • Pam and I created and posted a new Library Associate position – a hybrid cataloger and library assistant position to help us stay on top of our new book linking.
  • Pam and Marilyn volunteered to open the library on Sunday, Feb. 9 as a ‘warming center’ for community members without power after a series of storms in early February.  They manned the fort from 1 to 5 pm
  • At the (rescheduled due to snow) Board meeting, they decided to pursue another author event in late 2014 or early 2015.  Miryam agreed to chair!  She also contacted the June Fete committee on our behalf, so we could have a presence at that long-standing local event.  The Board also amended the inclement weather policy – Eleanor and I will make the determination, with input from the Township (regardless of what the School District does).
  • With information from the recorder of deeds for Montco, we started contacting new residents to the Township with a welcome letter.  This needs to be re-started in 2015. I have let it lapse.
  • I participated in revising the District’s Strategic Plan with Mary Maguire and Directors from across the County.  I had the continuing education section and promoted the idea of having collaborative CE events.
  • Feb. 27 – I submitted the Annual Report (state statistical report) and a royal time-suck (as in a full week).  Jonathan Shina, who compiles the monthly statistics for me, has helped us align the monthly statistics more closely with the annual report, so the numbers we collect fit better with what the State wants.
  • We had 16 volunteers donate 90 hours of time.

March – circ: 10,327

  • PLA in Indianapolis – See the posts here.  A great networking opportunity and a chance to see a bit of family, as well.
  • March 27 – Gerry Shur author event – Inside the Witness Protection Program, Celtic Pride concert, Crafternoons for kids and Teen Tech week also in March.  The Shur event went well, was well-attended and  brought in a diverse crowd (gender speaking).
  • Board Meeting notes: Hilarie wrote a Request for Proposal for Community Forums on March 3 for the Strategic Planning Committee, Miryam contacted Valerie Plame’s people for a possible author talk/fundraiser and we discussed having LM High School liaisons.
  • I met with Girl Scout Troop 754 to help plan their Bronze Star garden and research walnut tree toxicity on Mar 7.
  • Summerlin Memorial Book WormMarybeth Summerlin, a former Board member, passed and her husband named the library as a memorial recipient.  We received over $2,000 in Marybeth’s honor and bought book cases and our bookworm (that we used as inspiration for new paint in December).  Every donor received a letter from the Library and we shared the names with Mr. Summerlin so he could send notes, as well.
  • Pam, Tetjana and I conducted several interviews and hired Jessica as our new Associate.  She is a capable and enthusiastic worker and soon-to-be Librarian working on her MLS through Drexel U!
  • The staff completed a SWOT analysis, apart from the Board’s, at our March 28 staff meeting.
  • With help of the Library Assistants, usage reports that are reviewed and marked-up by me, we’ve been weeding non-fiction and adult fiction.  This also leads to re-orders, deletion carts and book repairs.  All weeded items are reviewed by me, with suggestions made by the staff to ‘delete, reorder or repair’.  I usually say delete! Our collection is SO OLD, it’s tragic.  As part of this project, we talk about weeding theory and I share with them the dramatic statistical evidence that a well-weeded collection, is a well-circulated collection.
  • Pam and I visited the ANC Secondary Girls’ School in Bryn Athyn to meet with Brenda, the librarian.
  • Submitted a Keystone Grant letter of intent for 3 new HVAC units.  The grant would pay for 50% of the $68,000 total cost. We also submitted a letter asking for support directly to a possible private donor.
  • Fetched documents for the 2013 Audit visit.  Time and effort involved preparing for the audit.
  • In March, we started making “One-on-One Tech Appointments” with patrons who needed in-depth help with their device, laptop, resume, or other techie-need.  Marilyn M., Christina, Debbie, Pam and I all help.  From our help, Cliff has a new job and Andre has a resume and email address so he can get a new job!
  • We had 13 volunteers donate 125 hours.

April – circ: ?

  • Shared all of our Strategic Planning documents with the Township commissioners, after presenting on the Geek the Library campaign at an open meeting on April 8.  The Township Manager and Commission President returned the favor and came to our April 10 Board meeting.
  • One of our most successful programs was April 23 with Ruth K. HartHVL New Logo and Library Card design by Christina H. z, author and a hidden child of the Holocaust.  We also celebrated National Poetry Month with Lynn Levin.
  • We launched Geek the Library during National Library Week and Christina took portraits for our customized posters.
  • We received gifts ear-marked for a new Library Endowment from Mr. Rumpf (from the Board) and Mr. and Mrs. DeMartinis (from the Township Commission).
  • We wanted to update our logo and library card to match the new energy in the library, so we asked Christina to put her graphic design degree to work and she designed our new library cards with the tag-line by Pam.  I really liked using the rainbow to signify energy, fun and inclusion, along with an architectural feature of the building. I like 3-word tag lines (Tonganoxie’s was “Enjoy. Learn. Grow., so I LOVE Pam’s 3-E’s: Engage. Explore. Enjoy.
  • At the quarterly Township meeting, we discussed ideas such as the Library as Community Center, fundraising goals, facility needs, and the new lease.
  • We set up an Amazon Smiles account to help with fundraising and to earn money on all of our DVD orders!
  • We had 12 volunteers donate 127 hours.

May – circ: 9,172

  • Board Meeting notes: We welcomed a new Board Member – Mr. Rumpf and board orientation ensued.  We accepted the bid from Catalyst Center for Nonprofit Management to help with our community forums.  I worked with Liz Vibber on logistics.
  • We sent a formal request to the Township for a few important documents missing from our archive.  Working effectively with the Township was and is a personal goal.  We (Chris, Pam, Rob and I) have met quarterly, the Library has requested and received important historical documents missing from our archive, I have made a concerted effort to increase our fundraising and I have every expectation that lease negotiations in 2015 will go smoothly.
  • Our Stucco Replacement Crew!On May 7, the Township opened bids for NEW STUCCO!  We were allowed to select both the color of the stucco and accent color for the architectural features.  The scheme ended up being a very K-State purple and gray, when it was suppose to be gray and blue.  Oops.
  • After discussing the idea with the Friends, I announced plans to have a Library-organized wine tasting fundraiser at Simpatico! restaurant at the Board meeting.  The Board’s Marketing and Fundraising Committee then met May 21 to assist with the event.
  • Held another Memorial Day Open House, with Board members and staff with donuts and hand-shakes.
  • Summer Reading preparations started for Fizz, Boom, Read (kids) | Spark a Reaction (teens and online) | Literary Elements (adults).
  • Pam and I visited several local businesses on May 12 to invite their participation in the Geek the Library campaign and went to the May 8 Women’s Club Luncheon to eat crab cakes and graciously receive a check for $1,600 in support!
  • We posted for two vacant positions, I sent a thick packet of supporting documents to the State for our annual report, and we bought books for a new Rumpf Investment Collection!  Woot!
  • Pam launched a new videogame collection for us.  With a grant from the Friends, we purchased a gaming system and an assortment of new/used games from a local retailer.  Pam linked the items for us and it’s proven a very popular collection.
  • I served on the committee to revise our District Negotiated Agreement with other Directors from the county.
  • With the Friends, we planned and executed a new, secure process for self-service fundraiser registration and money-handling.  The Friends Station launched in time for a summer bus trip to NYC.
  • Pam and I met with the Township to discuss a new Emergency Preparedness Plan – this is still in progress.
  • Building maintenance issues popped up ALL year, including HVAC and HVAC maintenance company issues, false fire alarms (with fire trucks and everything) and elevator battery replacements.  I had the Township open an insurance claim after flooding on April 30 ruined a wool rug in Anna’s Corner and lead to wet carpets, insulation and drywall.  (This mess eventually lead to drywall repairs and new paint in December.)
  • We had 16 volunteers donate 222 hours.

June – circ: 10,395

  • The Library stayed open until 5 pm on Saturdays throughout the summer, due to demand and our ability to staff the extra hours.  In the past, the library closed at 2 pm for 10 weeks every summer.
  • The Strategic Planning Committee met June 4 with Liz, our new consultant, and brought her up to speed, picked Community Forum dates, and I shared a draft customer survey created with help from Web Junction.
  • Jessica and Michelle at the June Fete 2014Jessica, Michelle from the Friends and I participated in a special Pirate and Princess party at the June Fete on June 7.  Jessica prepared a story and great photo opportunities for the kids.
  • We received a Memorandum from the Township on June 10 with some of the information we requested, including the 1990 referendum and meeting minutes from several meetings held in 1961 about the library tax.   Amazing information to have for our records.
  • Summer Reading kicked off for kids on June 25 with Eyes of the Wild and for adults on June 26 with Sherlock Holmes and the Speckled Band, as performed by Neill Hartley.  The teens program started on July 7 with author David Lubar.
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Sellner was appointed as the Board Liaison for Bryn Athyn and attended her first meeting.
  • We had 20 volunteers donate 166 hours.

July – circ: 13,572

  • Unrelated to work – we went back to Indy for a fun-filled family reunion over the July 4th weekend…and my nephew got married in late July, so I got to visit Kansas family, too.
  • Glynnis and Diane organized, promoted and hosted 31 programs over 7 weeks with a total attendance of 1,496 for Summer Reading.  We hosted 5 teen programs with 41 attendees and 32 adult programs with 513 attendees.  We were busy.  We had author Bernard Miller and a Women in Science lecture for adult summer reading.  The teens made Hunger Games crafts and Diane had weekly Library Labs to explore science with the kids.  So much activity, involvement and teamwork!
  • After strengthening the computer requirements, we re-opened a vacant Library Assistant position.  I participate in the interviews, while Pam trains and supervises.  She interviews and hires the pages.
  • We found out we need a maternity leave policy before January 9…(we’re caPam at the Bryn Athyn Bounty with our Geek the Library boardlling the baby Mathilda Topanga, but her mom doesn’t seem to be feeling that as a name).
  • I noted weeding before and Glynnis weeded the children’s collection.  Circulation rose 134% for Board books and 36% in ER and circulation decreased in picture books, which didn’t get any weeding attention.  She also inter-filed Juvenile fiction hardback and paperback, after a thorough weed.
  • The new library cards finally came in July, after much fussing about print quality, cut-off barcodes and the like.
  • Debbie wrapped 40 mystery titles in brown paper and Jessica wrote ‘clues’ on the outside of each to promote the adult summer reading program: Literary Elements.
  • Pam, Elizabeth Sellner (our new Bryn Athyn liaison) and I took Geek to the Bryn Athyn Bounty farmers market on July 19.  Pam created three “Geek” chalk board that we invited participants to write on both in the library and during outreach activities.
  • Shawna and MCLINC installed a new 53 Mbps Internet connection, upgrading us from 1.5.  Wifi and a few of the patron workstations continue to run on the free Comcast line.
  • We had 29 volunteers donate 329 hours.  Pam submitted an application to the Presidential Volunteer Service Awards to be come a certified organization.

August – circ: 10,966

  • The Board voted to cover the cost of the wine for our wine tasting event, giving us 100% Board participation in 2014 fundraising efforts!  They also voted to give the Director the authority to grant permanent employment status to new employees.
  • Tom joined the team – he has a TON of (academic) library experience AND works at B&N, so he’s very good with reader’s advisory.  Karen came on as a new page, also with great experience from another MCLINC library.
  • We started advertising three community forums in October, as well as a teen forum on October 13, with help from our Teen Board Liaisons!  The Board began meeting with community stakeholders, with a script and questions crafted by the committee with help from the consultant.
  • I submitted a first draft budget and presented to the Township on September 30.  The budget included funds for a new color copy machine, a Summer seasonal position and new electricity contract.  We also submitted our application for State Aid.  As part of the budget, we created the 2015 Wish List for the Friends, with more than $40,000 in requests.
  • Geek the Library made the Midweek Wire on September 3 and Glynnis and I geeked Back to School night at the High school.
  • Liz, the Board and I finalized the Customer Survey for a September 1 launch.
  • We had 20 volunteers donate 189 hours.

September – circ: 10,563

  • We held our Department Head meeting at Always Cafe on September 5 for a change.
  • PMarybeth Summerlin's Memorial receptionrior to the September 11 Board meeting, we invited Mr. Summerlin and his family to the library for a memorial reception in honor of his wife, Marybeth.  Former Board members, Friends and retired staff also attended.
  • Our September program schedule took a hit when we had to cancel the Foreign Film Series.  Following a purposefully quite August, we lost momentum in adult programs that lasted throughout the fall.  Glynnis had author Pat Guth at a Read-Aloud storytime on September 13 and a fun Talk Like a Pirate dress-up storytime on September 19.
  • We set the “Taste of Italy Wine and Dine Fundraiser” date for December 1, with wines selected by Jeff and Hilarie from the Board.
  • I worked on a draft Annual Appeal letter.
  • Glynnis went to the PaLA conference in Lancaster and came back with ideas and a new passion for passive programs.
  • Banned Book Week Display I submitted a complicated Keystone Grant application with historic reviews, letters of support, detailed photos and narratives prior to the due date.  But if we get it, that’s over $30,000 in grant support for new HVAC units. UPDATE: We got it!
  • We launched a new ESL collection, supported by the Friends and cataloged by Jessica and Christina created a really great Banned Books Week display.  Other displays soon followed, once the space was created.
  • How do we promote databases?  Use is low, cost is high and this is an ongoing struggle for us. The weekly newsletter highlights a resource each week, but the impact is minimal.  A goal for 2015!
  • The Girl Scouts installed a new garden outside the Library front entrance in September for their Bronze Star award.  With help from the Township, the garden looks fantastic.
  • We received donations and gifts throughout the year, but were surprised with a $500 book donation from Valley Orthodontics and a bequest from the Mary K. Frank estate in September.  Glynnis bought books that support school reading lists with Dr. Chen’s gift and the bequest will go to the new Endowment Fund.
  • With Tetjana, we created several new collections in Polaris, including New Books, Lifelong Learning (for our very popular Great Courses), and Lucky Day. The Lucky Day collection will replace rentals (we make more with fundraisers) and New Books will help us identify WHERE these new books are for the first 6 months of their life here.
  • We selected new interior paint colors – friendly yellow and brighter colors for the children’s department – blue, green and red – pulled from the new Bookworm.  The walls will be repaired and repainted as part of the insurance claim from spring.
  • We had 24 volunteers donate 172.5 hours – the equivalent of $1,489 in personnel costs.

October – circ: 10,182 – 5th month in a row and 6th month that we were over 10,000 in 2014!!!!

  • On October 7, Pam and I again met with the Township (Chris and Rob).  Rob kindly reviewed and made great suggestions for improving the Annual appeal letter.  These meetings have improved communication between the Library and the Township.
  • A goal for 2015 discussed at the Board meeting – Community Open House with businesses and organizations from the Township.
  • The Fire Prevention Open House on October 11 went great! Marilyn, Miryam and I represented the Library at a Geek-themed table at the Fire House and the crew here at the Library Mariel's Lunch Bunch crew at a teen Community Forumpainted faces and shared snacks and crafts.
  • The Community Forums held on Oct. 13, Oct. 16 and Oct. 25 were facilitated by Liz and attended by the Board.  We were very excited by the success of the two Teen forums on Oct. 13 that I facilitated with help from Mariel – they gave us great feedback and new ideas.  The Teen forums were promoted at the High School on their TV channel.  We extended the online Customer Survey and received 265 entries – staff (Tom) input paper surveys into Survey Monkey to help with analysis.  We heard from 19 teens, 8 community members, 1 school district administrator and 4 Friends.
  • Staff and I made home-made treats for a Friends Appreciation reception on October 22, prior to a program on Leonard Bernstein with Karl Middleman.   Other programs: Crooked Eye Brewery, author Paula Marantz Cohen and Medicare 2015.
  • IKEA couch with two of our great Teen volunteersTom and one of our teen volunteers put together a new IKEA couch (a Friends Wish List purchase) in the Children’s department and we added a new doll house in memory of Harriet Miller.  The Children’s area is so comfortable now, that we have a dad who brings his daughter here for most of the day, so mom (who works nights) can sleep!
  • Jessica wrote a SUCCESSFUL PA Humanities Council grant for a Teen Reading Lounge with facilitator Cheryl Levine!  Glynnis submitted a grant to the Jeanes Hospital for a new Yoga Fusion Music & Movement series for kids in 2015.  While Jeanes did not support Yoga Fusion, the Friends did, along with last-minute requests for a button-maker and Legos.
  • I revised and submitted the Personnel manual to the Personnel committee on Oct. 31.
  • Pam spearheaded moving our Sci-Fi and Fantasy collections, moved a shelf from the workroom to juvenile fiction, and worked with Shawna to set up a temporary “shelving” status for books just checked in, but not yet put away.
  • Debbie, Pam and I took our Geek campaign to the High School homecoming game, which we won!  In 2015, we will go again but just to promote the library and sign folks up for cards.
  • We had 25 volunteers donate 213 hours.

November – circ: 9,466

  • Goldberg Bucks County WinterAt the November 13 Board Meeting, Dr. Goldberg presented Tetjana an original framed print called “Bucks County Winter” in honor of her 30 years of service at the Library!
  • After updating the budget (monthly) to gauge year-end expenditures, we determined that we could afford to mail a professionally-printed annual appeal letter and replace a faulty heat exchange.
  • Miryam booked author Lisa Scottoline for a May 16, 2015 event and fundraiser at the Philmont Country Club!  She is also still in contact with Valerie Plame.
  • I researched Trustee Training and we decided to go with a two-tier approach: ALA’s Trustee Academy online courses and a follow up with Liz from Catalyst to help answer questions and provide information pertinent to us as a non-profit organization.
  • As a result of the Community Forums, I attended a School District Diversity Committee meeting on Nov. 11 and am excited to build a stronger relationship with the schools.
  • I worked to book adult programs for 2015, with children and teen programs pursued by Glynnis, Diane, Mariel and Jessica.
  • Christina left us for a full-time job, so Pam and I posted her position and interviewed candidates on November 28.   We hired Kathleen, a local with a banking background and excellent customer service skills. We also started our year-end “Annual Piece of Paper” conversations with staff to review 2014 goals and set new ones for 2015.
  • After a thorough review and weed of our magazine titles, we renewed with Ebsco.  Titles available through the Zinio online subscription allowed for the heavy weed.
  • We had a full house for Glynnis’s ticketed “Snow Queen” performance on November 22, sponsored by an annual gift from the Daveler Fund.
  • We had 23 volunteers donate 115 hours.

December – circ: TBD

  • Taste of Italy fundraiser with Judy, Board treasurerDecember 1 – Taste of Italy fundraiser!  We had 53 people and made about $1,200.  Hilarie put together a great wine guide and acted as MC for the night.  The restaurant Chef and staff handled the logistics and fed us well.
  • We had another full house for the Write and Illustrate Your Own Book Young Authors Gala with special guest and author Marie-Helene Bertino.  Marie had contacted the Library earlier in the year to let us know she would be speaking at the Book Expo to promote her debut novel.  Marie won the VERY FIRST Write and Illustrate contest in 1990 when it was started by children’s librarian Nancy Hensler.
  • We had two additional author visits – a read-aloud storytime with Michal Noah and Vincent Feldman shared photos from his book City Abandoned.
  • The Annual Appeal mailed after a few last-minute corrections.
  • The Library closed for a second Staff In-service on December 10 so we could ALL participate in mandatory reporter training.  To off-set the cost of the trainer, we opened the afternoon up to other library staff in the county and the Valley Youth Center.  One of the Goals of the new District plan was to have collaborative Continuing Education, so I was happy to organize the first one! The Friends fed us a Thank You brunch that morning.
  • Hubby and I are going on a trip in late December and I leave knowing the library is in very capable and dedicated hands, as has been proven over and over all year long!

Closing Thoughts:

Wow.  What a year.  I want to start with sharing my condolences to Joanne, Jane, and Judy who all lost loved ones in the last 12 months.  We had good times, too!  We celebrated Tetjana’s 30 year anniversary, a new baby to come in January (Update: she came on Jan. 13 and is adorable), and promotions and new jobs.

imagejpeg_0Without intent, we had 12 authors speak this year and we already have Lisa Scottoline booked for next year.  We had two successful fundraisers and I can hardly wait to see how the Annual Appeal will do.  We had our busiest year ever.  Our relationship with the Township and Friends grew in positive and fruitful ways – from more frequent communication, meaningful collaborations and recognizing our interdependence as an asset and strength.  We have actively focused on improving our karma by giving help, giving support, giving our patrons positive experiences and creating an experience and atmosphere in the Library that is uplifting, comfortable and friendly.  I mean, even our new paint color is called “Friendly Yellow” – we take this seriously!  And the smiles, new visitors, that laughter, amazing increases in circulation and program attendance are all the proof I need that we’re going in the right direction.  Now, how much of this forward progress has anything to do with me is debatable.  While I’m stuck back here with spreadsheets, bills, and press releases – they’re up front actually helping people.  Kudos, as always, to them.

 

Read for Life: Library for the Blind

Read for Life: Library for the Blind program on Tuesday, March 18 from 2-3 pm with Aimee Thrasher-Hanson, Outreach Coordinator, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Free Library of Philadelphia.

The Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Free Library of Philadelphia, is part of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress (NLS), a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage free mail.

In Pennsylvania, the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Philadelphia serves the eastern half of the state and the Carnegie Library for the Blind of Pittsburgh serves the western half of the state.

In addition, the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Philadelphia serves the entire Commonwealth, Delaware, and West Virginia with braille materials.

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped started in the 1930s with records for the fully-blind and later opened to people with low vision and other disabilities that impede their ability hold or read a print book, and recently opened to people with autism and/or dyslexia.

Digital reader

To be eligible, the application must be signed off on by a nurse, social worker, librarian or other approved expert.  For individuals with autism or dyslexia, a doctor or pediatrician must sign the form.  After signing up, processing takes about two weeks, additional explanations and information is sent and staff beging working with the user to customize reading lists.  Books can be self-selected or computer-selected broadly by genre/subject.

Cassettes have been replaced with a Digital Player that sports braille and big, colorful buttons with high-contrast.  The machine is durable and the USB cartridges (with an embedded flash drive) are “nearly indestructible.”  They are also easy to handle and can be put into the machine with one finger and hold a tremendous amount of text – you can fit the entire Bible on one.

Audiobooks and magazines can both be received and returned for FREE by mail in color-coded cases. All audiobooks are sent from and returned to Pittsburgh.  Braille books are managed by the Philadelphia office. Magazine cartridges are returned for re-loading.  One cartridge will be custom-loaded with the current issues of ALL of a patron’s magazine titles.  Newspapers are also available, but by Telephone through a separate service.  Where the newspaper is computerized text to voice, the audiobooks and magazines are narrated by professionals.  The Library for the Blind has recently started working with Recorded Books to provide access to audiobooks produced for the consumer market (the same ‘version’ as can be found at the library or bookstore).  This partnership is beginning to allow for simultaneous release of new releases.  Other new titles take 6 months before they are available through the service.

Veterans are given priority, Americans living overseas qualify for the service and programs are being provided for children, including braille picture books (we saw The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein).  Aimee shared that most children using their services have been blind from birth and prefer braille, while older adults who are losing or have lost their vision prefer audiobooks.  Her library will be offering Summer Reading for the first time this summer for her younger patrons.

Selection of books starts when a person completes the application form and indicates their reading preferences.  What genres, subjects or reading-level of books are you interested in?  Individuals can also have selections limited by (which is proving to be a slight problem with some of the books provided through an outside source):

  • Strong language
  • Violence
  • Explicit descriptions of sex

The newest development is BARD – Braille and Audio Reading Download.   The cartridge readers have an external USB port that accepts audiobooks downloaded from the BARD database onto an external flash drive.  There is also a BARD App for iOS devices, with an App for Android under development.  While the cartridges are limited by the number of physical copies available, a patron has unlimited access to BARD.  Because of issues and concerns about copyright, this program is closely monitored.

The BARD App is free to download and can navigated with gestures and swipes, linked with sound cues.  Aimee shared that user testing revealed a preference for the iPad app over traditional players.  Some people even add on a braille keyboard (only $2,500) so they can read what it displayed on the screen with dots that feel like braille type on paper.

The Library at 9th and Walnut in Center City has services available for walk-in patrons, such as magnifiers to help read mail, JAWS computer software, a Adaptive Technology computer lab, and Zoomtext software.  The Free Library of Philadelphia has also recently changed its policy so that ANYONE in the State of Pennsylvania can receive the card and access to their databases, including eBooks!  Aimee left applications with us.

2013 Year in Review

2013AnnReprtRevisedIt’s Annual Report time.  I didn’t have as much time to spend on it this year…what with being closed half of last week due to snow, ice and roads blocked by huge trees.  It’s a shame, really, because the process of reviewing the year’s events gives some perspective and time for reflection.  There are the big things:

  • Staff reorganization with new positions, retirements, upgraded positions and several people leaving on their own.  By far the staff changes have been the most difficult, especially for the folks who have been here 20 and 30 years.
  • Programs…so many programs.  We had Abe Lincoln played by James Hayne, Jackie Bagley, Betsy Anderson, Dr. Natalie Isser, Bill Wine, Feeney’s Garden Center, Briar Bush, Ran’D Shine, Rick “The Butterfly Guy” and Eyes of the Wild, plus the Friends had a fantastic “Celtic Autumn” program with Ed Saultz and helped organize a Veteran’s Day program.  Barbara helped the Library and Bharatya Hindu Temple put together a series of events about India for this year’s Taste of Culture program in May, ending with a yummy catered dinner.  In October, we had another cultural event and tasting courtesy of the Korean Spirit and Culture Promotion Program. A total of 249 programs with 5,370 attendees – not bad, not bad at all.
  • Community Center goal – we participated in Memorial Day and the local Fire Prevention open house, where the street in front of the Library (and Fire house across from us) was closed for a carnival.  Our meeting room was used by the women’s Club, Hunt club, Daisy Scouts, Boy scouts, Friends, Computer Society, and several more local groups I can’t think of at the moment.  The best part, though, was seeing neighbors find the sofa in Anna’s corner to have a cup of coffee, read their book and enjoy the view.
  • kitchenFamily Place library – without going to the training or getting the $5,000 grant, we are slowly enhancing our children’s area to be fun, interactive, educational and comfortable for kids and parents.  Under Alice (who retired in August), we installed a train table purchased by the Friends, along with duplo blocks and puzzles.  Under Glynnis (new Youth Services Librarian), we added a fancy wooden kitchen, more puzzles, blocks and the Friends approved an additional $500 to get a loveseat.  Glynnis came to us with the Family Place training and incorporates early literacy lessons into her story times.
  • Failed Fundraiser – so, the Board and I tried to organize a golf outing that had to be canceled due to lack of participation.  Luckily, it morphed into a very successful 60th anniversary brunch celebration with keynote Larry Kane in early January at Philmont Country Club (kept our $1,000 deposit that way).  A majority of the hole sponsorships we received in June were converted into donations to the library, which we used to buy a replacement battery for the defibrillator and a bunch of new Great Courses.  The fundraiser-that-never-was brought in $1,400.
  • Strategic Planning – the Board has also focused much time and attention this year on updating our strategic plan.  We worked with a local consultant and are now working on organizing community forums to gather input, awareness and buy-in for whatever future path we take. If the goal is to renovate and/or tweak our focus, then I want the Township residents to be a part of that decision making.  I’m an outsider with a lot of crazy ideas, but it’s not my community.
  • Circ Desk Redo – bookdropsmallthe Heinemans were kind enough to come in on a long weekend and carve us out a drop box in the desk!  We’d already added a seated workstation with a telephone, to assist patrons of all statures, cleared off a lot of the clutter and moved the self-check machine to the other side of the desk.  We also took the holds from behind the desk and put them out for self-service.  The feedback? “About time you did that.” and “But what will happen to staff?”  My staff are awesome – they shoot back with, “Oh, now we have more time to help you find something good to read.”  We also moved a very messy ‘community information area’ to the old telephone nook and created a work area next to the copy machine, with stapler, ruler, calculator, tape, etc.  I still want to make that huge desk go away and replace it with something more functional, but for now…it works.

It’s been a long, hard year but very rewarding.  To see all of the indicators (holds, circ, program attendance) go up and to hear the positive feedback from patrons has been gratifying.  The team is gelling, my Assistant Director is amazingly awesome and we are ready to embark on a fun Geek the Library campaign in 2014.  Best of all, it’s fun to go to work.

Geek the Library PA Style

Geek the Library with Jennifer Powell, OCLC – Tuesday, October 22, 2013

(I’ve written about Geek the Library before, so I’m excited that I didn’t miss the boat on this!)

whatdoyougeek

What does advocacy look like? Q&A.  A’s: visit commissioners, Rotary, social media, newsletters, flyers, Teen boards writing to Reps, meetings with Superintendent, Parades, t-shirts, and Summer Reading Program yard signs.

What are the benefits of proactive awareness?

  • learn about and understand the total value of the Library
  • “Actively educating the public builds a foundation of knowledge that may facilitate library support when a need arises.”

Need both Internal and External Advocates – Can staff articulate the value of the library?  Do we gather stories of Transformation?  How do we demonstrate that the library supports success?

What is Geek the Library? It starts with the very simple Geek Board, where the community is invited to share (with chalk or silver sharpie markers on a black board) what they “geek” – or what they are passionate about.

  • Awareness campaign by the Gates foundation
  • Improves programming – for example, several people write that they geek gardening…you can do programming with the local horticultural society.  Do your folks geek their pets? Create posters with pictures of patrons and their beloved pets…right after you’ve had a program about grooming.
  • Geek is a verb – to love, promote, express interest in…and the Library supports what you Geek!
  • The 6-month campaign:
    1. Creates Awareness
    2. Generates Engagement with the local community
    3. Encourages Action – tell stories, show flow charges, focus on the value of the library and the need for support.  Turn library services into successes.

Why it Works

  • Takes the library out into the community
  • Starts conversations
  • When you increase awareness, you change behavior
  • Results in informed supporters who drive change
  • It’s Dynamic and draws attention and gets the community looking at and talking about the library
    • Teen clubs have been started because of Geek the Library
    • Database use increases
    • Friends groups expand
    • Libraries who participate are busier in general

Grant Objectives

  • 1,000 locations by June 2014 – free to start any time.
  • Should result in improved support structure for the library
  • ALL MATERIALS ARE FREE – one librarian said, “it was like Christmas and we just couldn’t believe it was all free!”  Includes, table skirt, 6-ft banner, posters, t-shirts, and templates to make local posters
  • Communications and ideas are sent weekly – ideas, one-on-one support and webinars
  • Access to the Campaign Management Center (CMC)
  • WebJunction Webinars

Consumer site: geekthelibrary.org | Includes: funding myths and realities, Facebook, templates, videos

Library Campaign site: get.geekthelibrary.org | Includes case studies, marketing and promotion materials, information kit (with a Powerpoint presentation to pitch the idea to Board/staff/Friends), planning help, talking points, “more information that I could use,” pre-written press releases, customizable items, and lots of ideas and pictures at Flickr.

Campaign requirements:

  1. 1 hour webinar
  2. Activate your CMC account
  3. Take an initial survey
  4. Let them know when the campaign ends

Planning –

  • Jennifer recommends 2 months lead time for a 6-12 month campaign.
  • Localize and personalize the campaign with local faces, celebs, and businesses.
  • Join events: fairs, job fairs, holiday events, sporting events (5Ks), farmers market, music events and expos
  • Involve the schools – have bulletin boards, bookmarks, contests
  • Have an Open House and party
  • See if community members with signs and billboards will share what they geek!

Edge Initiative in Pennsylvania Libraries

Edge Initiative in Pennsylvania Libraries

Panel with Lisa Rives Collins, Denis Sticha and Barb McGary. Facilitated by Stacey Aldrich, State Librarian

“The Edge Initiative was created to provide public libraries with new strategies and tools to help achieve community priorities through enhanced technology.”  Gates Foundation initiative and continuation of Gate grants and broadband work with goal to advocate for sustainable technology.  There are 11 benchmarks grouped under three goals:

  1. Community Value
  2. Engage Decision Makers
  3. Organizational Management

Working through the online Assessment Tool and the downloadable reports provides:

  • Opportunity to focus on technology by going through the checklist
  • Assess current public access technology and how it is used
  • Identify ways to strengthen and enhance what is offered
  • Engage with key leaders to share the value of libraries

Reports and tools, like Actin Planning Tool and Executive Tools provide templates and PPTs useful for discussing the results with the community and developing strategic plans and goals around the results.

PA State Library wants to use the assessment as a data collection tool to gather statewide information that can inform them of trends that may be supported with LSTA Funds.

Panel Discussion Points:

  • Why they did it…
    • Planning tool, opportunity to inventory tech and tools for discussing technology with the community – provided language they were missing.  Defines “stuff” that library offers.
    • Tech audit that is part of the assessment was an existing goal
    • Find common tech needs that can be addressed as a group
  • Staff Buy In…
    • Answered the survey/assessment as a group – with members of front line staff, admin and IT.  Got everyone on the same page.
    • Easy to do – spent 2 hours discussing the answers.  Action plan lead to ways to improve.  Opportunity to implement new ideas
    • Lead to tech competencies for staff included in job descriptions
    • Opportunities for staff discussion
    • Way to get state training at no cost
  • Benefits…
    • Learned about library tech and staff competencies – assumptions were sometimes wrong about what front line staff could do
    • Board buy -in – for the visionary board it was easier and they ditched their strategic plan in favor of a Community Impact Plan.  For the reticent board with a fear of failure, the process of talking through the assessment and questions reduced fear and they could look on the assessment as a tool for improvement, not a grade!
    • Community Impact Plans – a shift in how library supports the community.  Don’t look at a plan that gets Library from A to B, but focuses outward on how the Library supports the community’s goals.
    • Expose Board to a new role for the library.  Gives Board members specific language, examples and stories to show impact of services. Advocacy tool with credibility of the Gates Foundation behind it.
    • Library-wide tech training – common goals with buy in
  • Q&A…
    • PA Forward Link?  Combine both initiatives – sell as a complete piece to the Board.  “Computer literacy” also civic literacy and Digital citizenship taught by the library (ex: cyber bullying classes at the library).
    • Could lead to additional grants and fundraising opportunities
    • Involve the Board as an educational exercise.
    • Use to improve Tech Plan

This will be rolled out in February, prior to the Annual Report and along with a Digital Inclusion survey (and maybe others, so the State Library can gather data to help shape their priorities).

http://www.libraryedge.org/ > Assessment Workbook