Building Your Base
One Firefighter at a Time
Firefighters: Why do it?
many communities, connections between the library and the local fire department
are weak or even non-existent. Interestingly, fire departments and libraries
have the same underlying goal - supporting the local community. Working
to build a relationship with your local fire company is a worthwhile goal
for your library. Here are some reasons for reaching out to your local
Many firefighters feel unrecognized. Despite the routine risks
and sacrifices they make for others, firefighters have shared that their
community. Helping them feel recognized, honored, and appreciated can
go a long way to forging amicable relations with this group.
feel competition with the library over funding. Building good relations
and helping local firefighters see value in the library can ease these
don't see a reason to use the library in today's information age -
you need to give them one.
From borrowing DVD's, viewing Fire
Chief and Fire
Engineering magazines online, or researching funding opportunities
online, local firefighters need to be educated and enticed to interact
with the library by showing them specific materials or programs which
meet their needs or interests.
to do it?
Fire safety personnel
have shared that the best way to begin a relationship is through personal
If you know
someone in the fire company, you can begin networking through them. If
you don't know anyone, you can call and ask for the Chief or Assistant
Chief. If possible, stop by the fire department and introduce yourself
to the Fire Chief or Asst. Fire Chief. You can explain that the library
is doing some community outreach and you wanted to see how the library
- support their
- identify areas
- inform them
of new resources they can access conveniently online.
Some tips for making
- Fire departments
have drill and rig check night so you can find out when it is and then
- If no one is around,
call the 911 Center and ask for the Chief's business number and call
either the Fire Chief or Fire Prevention Officer to set up a meeting.
2: Learn About Them & Extend Support
Ask about what is happening at your local fire department and then offer
the library as a resource where appropriate.
Here are some resources
to get you started:
3: Form a Partnership: Make a Plan to Work Together
The most important
step is finding out how to help or interest your local firefighters and
then use this as a means for connecting with them. They may also want
to use the library as a venue for some of their own activities.
to it: Ideas & Resources
are very visual people - the more you can "show" them, the more
impact you'll have."
- Dave Walsh, Chairman of the Fire Science Program at Dutchess Community
College and instructor at the Academy of Fire Science in Montour Falls,
Following are some
strategies for collaborating with your local fire department. They should
serve primarily as starting points. The best way to build a meaningful
relationship is not tell local firefighters what you are going to do for
them, but to first ask them how you might helpful. The process of first
asking about their current needs and activities reveals opportunities
for collaboration that would likely not have surfaced without your asking.
- Purchase materials
of interest to firefighters for your library
- Give the local
fire department a fire materials catalog and ask them to visit an
online bookstore and share with you some books they would like.
Invite them to visit the library when the books are in and ready
for check out.
- NYS Fire Academy Catalog
- Put information
firefighters would like to share with the community in your newsletter,
blog, website, or on display in the library
- Make library information
available at the fire hall.
- Help firefighters
get information they require for a training or drill
- Great resources
can be borrowed through the NYS Academy of Fire Science Library.
- Host a firefighter
- Partner to provide
a program or service to your community.
- Provide a database
or catalog demonstration to the fire department.
- Offer the use of
library computers for online training now required for firefighters.
site was developed by the Mid-Hudson
Library System. It was made possible by Federal Library Services and
Technology Act funds (LSTA), awarded to the New York State Library by the
Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.
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