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Suggestions for building community support by offering strategic programs and services.

  • Targeted programming. Identify one or two groups that may increase the influence of the library if library supporters were among them. Work to create library supporters within these groups by strategically planning programs of interest to them. This will likely require a conversation and needs assessment with some of the group members. Attendance at one or more of their meetings/gatherings would also be helpful. Some ideas:
    • Present book discussion topics that will attract men. (History, wars, sports, automobiles etc.)
    • Hold "business after hours" programs or networking events.
  • Host programs that will increase the traffic flow of new people in the library. Be sure a library staff member welcomes those who attends and invites them back to the library. Some ideas for bringing in new people:
    • Host an artist gallery
    • Host a discussion or debate of current issues.
    • Offer Museum passes
    • Hold "Murder mystery night"
    • Host an Election night dinner
    • Hold movie nights
    • Create a parade float
    • Offer a concerts series
    • Have a booth or exhibit at community events and be sure to hang a banner; 4-H fairs, Chamber of Commerce showcases, school programs, community based projects/events, street festivals, parades, health fairs, and charity events.
    • Host a dessert party
    • Hold an American Girl party
    • Hold a "Coffee and Donuts Day" at the Library on a monthly or quarterly basis. Have fresh coffee and donuts and invite anyone in the community to drop by, socialize, and enjoy refreshments. Have library card registration forms and other promotional materials near the coffee accompanied by a sign that says, "Information that May Interest You."
  • Consider purchasing a used bookmobile. The bookmobile can be a great PR tool.
  • Promote the practical services that people may come into the library to use: copy machines, fax, notary, computers, tax forms etc.
  • Take pictures of library programs/activities and post them on the library's website.
  • Host a bus trip and connect with the people who have signed up. Have someone from the library welcome those going on the trip and collect contact information for these individuals, explaining that you will want to inform them of future programs/trips that may be of interest. Some of them will be potential new patrons and library supporters whom you may want to contact following the trip.

This toolkit was created on behalf of the 2005-2007 Getting to Yes (GTY) project. GTY is funded by Federal Library Services and Technology Act funds, awarded to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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