Be Part of the Community

I’ve written before of the importance of the library to the community, and the need for libraries to position themselves as essential services.   Today’s Blogging 101 assignment is to write a post that builds on one of the blog posts I commented on this week, and I am choosing one of the blog posts I mentioned yesterday, the one on libraries and community engagement. Handshake-04-Man-Wonam

Author Graeme Stuart has done a much more in-depth of analysis of resources on libraries and community engagement than I ever have or ever could, although several of the resources he mentions are ones I’ve read, cited, or use in my Public Library Administration online certification course.  To that, I add the following thoughts:

  • Libraries must be fully engaged in their communities. Especially public libraries, but really, all libraries.  Our communities are the reasons we exist.
  • Libraries must pay attention to what their communities want and need, and be prepared to find ways to offer those things, or to cooperate with other agencies to help offer those things.
  • Libraries must let their communities know that they are providing what the community needs. We must be able to document what we do, why we do it, and why the taxpayers should help fund us.
  • This is all tied to strategic planning. Involve the community in planning. Find out what the community’s needs are. Find ways the library can address those needs. Make those actionable items in your strategic plan.
This entry was posted in Economy, Funding, Library Funding, Library in Community, Library Partnerships, Library Services, Planning, Public Libraries, Strategic Planning and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Be Part of the Community

  1. hksounds says:

    Unfortunately the drive to ‘privatize’ is destroying libraries. Just today, in Hong Kong, where I live, an article in the SCMP, “More than 100 casual library workers have sought help from the Labour Department after their employer allegedly ceased operations and put them out of work[.]” Given that Hong Kong follows wherever the Heritage Foundation leads, this is either a harbinger of what is to come in the USA or is merely part of the trend. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson would be appalled by our lack of attention to the sundering of the basic structures of our society.


    • cbecker53 says:

      You’re right. Here in the US, where local and state budgets for libraries are shrinking, more libraries are turning to fundraising, including naming rights, whether for a portion of the library, walkway tiles, or the entire library. In my opinion, private funds and fundraising are “fine,” but should enhance, not replace, public funds.


  2. Reblogged this on Insomnia, Nightmares and General Madness and commented:
    It’s unfortunate that, in my experience, there’s too few libraries willing to do these things. A lot of them in my area seem to think opening the doors, dropping the public dollars in their bank account and saying “We have books… and stuff” once a year is enough. Quite depressing.


    • cbecker53 says:

      You are right, many libraries do not see the value in becoming a community “place.” Personally, I think that doing so increases their value to the community, and thus, potentially their appropriation from public dollars! But I do think more and more of us are talking about it, and telling libraries this is what they should do. Taken to its extreme, those libraries that do not demonstrate their value to the community in this way, may cease to exist.
      Thanks for stopping by–Please come again!

      Liked by 1 person

      • In communities where there is actual involvement of the people, they might cease to exist; if those people don’t feel their needs are being met, the sense of “but it’s always been there” will only last for so long.

        But in the bucolic, “good ol’ boy” run domains where more is actually getting done in the back room of Denny’s than in the City Manager’s office or the board of Supervisor’s dais, a non-helpful situation can continue almost ad infinitum. Because Sue the librarian once helped Roger the filing clerk with a messy divorce from Lisa the swimming pool manager who borrowed some money from Fred the casino PR guy who helped promote Natalie the DJ’s radio show which was produced by Sue’s grandfather who sits on the Board of Supervisors and who… and so on. So all of them have a vested interest in not changing anything that changes their political map, and the community is either entangled in it or is on the “outs” and thus irrelevant.

        Sad state of affairs, but one I am entirely too familiar with.

        Thank you for having an interesting little corner of the web! I’ll certainly be around. 🙂


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