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.
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.