Meet Them in the Moment: Engaging Public Library Patrons When It Matters Most
Home / Meet the Patrons. Ludwig and Myr Tamari. Naim and May Aburdeneh Nawas. Dr. Ramsey and Natali Dass. Farah and Hanan Munayyer. Norma Murad . Meet the patrons. Online social networking is a great tool for charities to prove their worth, and can aid fundraising - but it is not without its risks. We used a version of Contextual Inquiry, an ethnographic methodology that involves meeting participants where they interact with their public library—in person.
They should be aware that not only might misleading claims be exposed online but that individuals could easily choose to bypass institutions altogether. Not all donors are in a position to travel to countries in need but that is not necessary: The question is whether a growing number will begin to regard charities as slow and expensive middlemen.
Charities are responding by investing heavily in online communities. Real dialogue generates real engagement - Donor Power Blog at donorpowerblog. Actionaid's networking site at myactionaid. Many charity staff are instinctively nervous about opening their websites to posts from the public, but are learning to accept new limitations on their ability to control their brands. Instead of being the single source of information about their work, they will need to inspire others to talk about it on their behalf.
As the internet dramatically reduces the transaction costs of fundraising and communication, charities will need to be ever more creative and coherent to get their messages across. Large charities will be able to explore new ways of talking about their work on a personal scale, bringing their stories to life. Small charities will be able to generate global campaigns on the back of a single brilliant idea that travels rapidly through networks.
Other websites, such as kiva. Before the arrival of web 2. They will soon be part of everyday fundraising. The possibilities of internet activity reach beyond generating extra income. Virtual communities also provide a new way for charities to deliver services, reaching people in easier and more effective ways than ever before.
The environment combines friendliness with relative anonymity, a good fit with the charity's Don't Hide It campaign, which encourages children to speak out about abuse. As one of the room's regular visitors remarks, "There's no peer pressure to look older or cool, since we're all two-inch pixelated characters. It aims to promote public understanding of autism through short films, showing a day in the life of people with the condition through their own eyes.
Many people with autism enjoy posting on websites, and have an affinity with the internet environment. The society is now considering whether more of its advice services should move online. Kids get to cut the apron strings and parents get to have some freedom. The library itself is also very important for ESL students.
Meet the Patrons - Raising Awareness and Money to help beat Cancer
It can be a safe place to go after school as well as get English-language resources. Much of the strength of this engagement comes as a result from active work from educators and librarians.
One of our librarian participants mentioned how they order multiple copies of the same book in different languages so that their ESL kids can read it in both languages. Many librarians also work with local schools to form partnerships and to help fill any gaps from dwindling school budgets. This can range from homework help and materials to support school curriculum to creative activities like a Minecraft club.
An interesting point we noticed was that even many participants who are non-users of the library recognize the value of a tight relationship between local libraries and schools and see this as necessary in their communities. Low Engagement Independence is important and now, the world is their oyster! The library as a physical place to hang out has been replaced by places like coffee shops, malls, and other teen hangouts.
Beyond this, many high schools also have their own libraries, making the public library less of a need or destination. As a result, high school typically is a time where teens have very low engagement. Low Engagement Low user engagement continues through the college experience, primarily due to a lack of need and lack of connection. And why is this?
Meet the university library.
For most students, the university library fills the gap. Not only do these libraries have resources that directly support their studies, but many of these have collections for pleasure reading and even book clubs. The university library is also near where they spend most of their time. Many do not even know where their local public library is located, let alone understand its services.
The college campus is their new community more than their new city or town.
MEET THE PATRONS
Because of this lack of attachment, many students continue without the public library. Low Engagement Unless Jumpstarted The slump of library engagement continues after college unless it is jumpstarted by some action or need such as moving to a new community, job loss, or new parenthood see below. Many participants noted that moving to a new community pushed them to seek out and use the public library. Some of this came as a result of outreach efforts one participant started using the library after receiving a flyer in the mail.
High Engagement One major jumpstarter for library engagement is parenthood.
Restarting the cycle that started with storytime, parenthood brings the user back into the library. We found that when kids age out of storytime, engagement can dip back again unless the parent makes a personal connection the library. This connection could be a librarian or to one of the activities that the library facilitates, like a book club. As a result, some libraries are actively trying to create that connection.
Since many parents may not have time to pick out their own books, Wake County Public Libraries has a pilot program that tries to lend parents a hand. This program provides a busy parent with their own personalized bag of books that are ready to pick up at the end of storytime and are even pre-checked out.
By anticipating the needs of new parents, the library can build connections that parents may maintain as their children grow up. High Engagement Although it is definitely not as happy as child rearing, job loss was another jumpstarter we saw.
Not only do libraries provide computer and internet access, but they often have resume or job resource workshops as well as online databases with career advice. Aside from the actual resources a library offers its patrons, sometimes the most utilized is the physical library itself. Job searching can be an isolating and lonely experience and while coffee shops can be a place to turn to, they generally require purchases of coffee, which can add up.
High Engagement Retirement is another time we see high engagement at the library.
Meet the patrons
Now with more free time, seniors can take advantage of more of the resources the library provides. One participant takes classes through a lifelong learning university and uses the library to help her with her coursework. We also saw that many seniors use the library for help with technology.