In libraries, it is important for us to communicate with, and listen to, the people who use our libraries every day. Of course it is. We send them newsletters, we tweet and Facebook with them, we give them bookmarks and flyers about upcoming events when they check out materials.
But sometimes we fall into the trap of communicating only with our dedicated users, and forget our mandate to serve the entire community. It’s easy to do. It’s so much easier to reach those people we see or hear from every day, and so much harder to reach those who never use the library. Yet, in public libraries, it’s their tax dollars we are responsible for too.
Yes, it’s important to preach to the choir, but we need to preach beyond the choir too! The post Engaging the Elusive Non-User, on this very topic, caught my eye. It should catch yours too. Here’s a preview:
Among the commonsensical, yet often overlooked, points made by Fletcher and Singer is that non-users cannot effectively be reached by focus groups, surveys on the library website, or other such mechanisms that may be useful for capturing the opinions of active library patrons. To reach this other group, libraries must go where they already are: malls, daycare centers, coffee shops, commuter rail stations, houses of worship, farmer’s markets, senior programs, etc. The Pikes Peak Library District, CO, even went to a feed store!