big talk from small libraries: a community working together

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A Community working Together

A Community working TogetherWhat one small library can do with a little help and support from your community can change your world!

Side note: I am a part-time library director over two part time ladies that work with me and if we can make this work so can you! It does take time, effort, creativity and the willingness to try but you can become an integral part of your community (or just find a few more organizations to get involved with).1

A little storyNearly 50 years ago a group of 6 ladies from the Literary Society got together and petitioned the state to open a public library in the Village of Hopkins. It was amazing! A tiny farming village had its own library and even got a letter from the White House.Then stagnation set inAbout 3 years ago a new librarian came in and started changesNow we are an active, fun, and exciting place for our community to be proud of!Natalie Bazans photo of the Hopkins District Library

In its nearly 50 years of existence, the Hopkins Public now District Library has had 4 library directors. 2

SchoolsRaise your hand how many of you have schools close to your library? Schools as: Literacy PartnersTeachers (for classes at your library)Media outletsBulk purchasing partners Grant partnersTech help!

Schools, like libraries are underfunded and often under appreciated, but also like libraries they work hard with what they have to make every student count. Here the school is a short walk from the library (all three - elementary, middle and high schools). We work with the different school groups to give them volunteer opportunities, set up activities/talks/demos for the students whose classes walk over and make sure every student has a chance to sign up for a library card!3

Community GroupsWhat kind of community groups do you have? Why involve community groups?Fund Raising, grants, instructors, audience Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, Masons, Knights of Columbus, Girl Scouts, Boys Scouts, Toastmasters, VFW, American Legion

All logos from official websites

These groups really know how to fund raise! And many of them spend quite a bit of time volunteering, too! Not bad people to know when you need to learn something new (or get a refresher)!4

ClubsDo you have a hobby? What is it? (just one please!)Do you have a giant table? Meeting room? Or just an open space in or near the library?Garden Club, Knitting/Crochet/Fiber Arts, Painting, Drawing, Taxidermy, Fly Tying, Exercise, Health,

Photo from Natalie Bazan Hopkins Yarn Bomb: Watch your garden grow!

Have you ever noticed that hobbies bring people together? You go to a craft store, checking out the cross stich kits and along comes a lady who tells you all about how you dont want to go with that company since they dont always have enough of each color floss. People like to talk about what they love! 5

Governmental organizationsDo you or anyone from your library go to local governmental meetings? State/Counties/Townships/VillagesAdvocacyAdvertisingFundingGood willReach non-users

Your local governmental officials (town, village, city, township) know nearly everyone and they put out newsletters, campaign, and talk to people. Wouldnt it be nice it they talked about you too? Especially when you need more funding, a larger/newer space, or just want to let people know whats going on at the library. It can be a wonderful circle: library does something wonderful (call the reporters!), town notices, politicians want to be associated with you and spread the word about your wonderful thing, more people come to the library, you get more funding, you do more wonderful things (try it, it really works!)6

BusinessesDonations MaterialsFundsVolunteer TimeClass instructorsAsk them to design a classAdvertisersGood will in the community

Background from Flickr artist amandabhslater

Think Local! Help them out too. If you do your own website (and I do love my PLINKIT site), add a section on local businesses, groups, churches, everything someone new might want to know and not know where to find! 7

Becoming a Community CenterProProviding more diverse programming Bringing non-users into the library Additional grant funds available

ConFunding for additional events and resourcesTime open additional hours and time spent planningCommitment to provide additional programming

If you are interested, here are a couple of sites that might be helpful:


Funding SourcesWhat is your best fund raising idea?Searching Google is a good place to startCheck out local businesses/governments Asking Put out a jar/box/coin vortexDo fund raisers/silent auctions/live auctions/Ebay salesWrite to national businesses that have a connection to your townReporting Check with your accountant/bookkeeper about needing a single auditMake sure to follow up with the grant organizations/donors and send in those reports!

For grants start local: Check with you local (if you have one) arts council, teen center, suicide prevention, pregnancy prevention, community foundation, literacy foundation, police, fire, DNR (or the equivalent of a department of natural resources)If you dont like to write, dont think you are good at it, or are just worried Give it a try!! You dont always have to be the best writer to win a grant. For smaller local grants, being heartfelt and having a concrete plan of action matter!! 9

Understanding Your NeedsWhats kind of survey questions work best?Break out the surveys (digital and paper)The informal survey aka talk to peopleLook back in the records what works and what doesnt Cater to your population

Constant Contacts 8 Tips for Writing Effective Survey QuestionsSurvey Monkeys Help Writing Survey Basics of Survey and Question Design10

Never give up, just keep at it!Get organized start a spread sheet with all the organizations in/near your area, what they do, what you might like them to do, and when they do something with youSend Thank You cards never underestimate the power or a thank you (with pictures or a little gift is even better)Dont be afraid to ask!

I cant even tell you how many grants Ive written, how many people Ive called or emailed, and how many business doors Ive knocked on but in the end its worth it. Put together a plan of action, figure out what you need to make that happen (even if you are a 1 person library it can work!), and make a list of steps, check them off, put them on the wall with sticky notes or whatever you have to do to show yourself that you can and are doing this! Providing educational and entertaining opportunities to people long accustom to either doing without or having to drive far away they will appreciate your work and they will appreciate you! Just keep at it!11

If you have questions, comments or concerns, please do contact me!

Natalie Bazannatalie.a.bazan@gmail.com269-793-7516 (work)

Ive taught, run a reference desk and worked customer services in retail there are no stupid questions. If you are wondering then it isnt stupid its curiosity and if I can answer it I will!12