My community conversation reflection (thanks to all who attended)

I attended the community conversation at the Lacey Library for about an hour last month. I couldn’t stay for the entire thing (and I was in and out throughout the meeting helping my oldest in the library), but I’m glad I went.

Before I go further, I encourage you to read Justin’s take of the same event here. He has the sort of optimistic view of libraries that we need to move forward.

There were some great suggestions during the meeting. I also noticed that it was a good opportunity for library staff to talk about what was actually available at the library, which brings me to my main reflection I suppose. There is a lot of resources (teaching modules for example) that our typical patron doesn’t really know about. And, I think there might be a way to better arrange how they access these resources.

For example, TRL has built hands-on activity modules. These kits include supplies for special activities that library staff can conduct with patrons. Or, more basically, we have a teen DIY night.

Ellen Duffy, TRL’s youth services coordinator, was in the middle of talking about a science module to a patron and the patron and the patron asked how they’d find out when one was being deployed. These modules (as I understand them) are activity kits that each library has access to. They (the library) checks them out and then schedules an event. Ellen said something along the lines of “you’d have to depend on the staff at your library” and check the calendar when one was being held.

Okay, here’s my point finally: this process of accessing the very rich, tactile and non-book resources TRL owns could be more like putting a book on reserve. 

1. Patrons should be able to see a list or database of all the possible moduled events TRL could offer.

2. Additionally, patrons should be able to “reserve” a module for a branch. A single reserve shouldn’t mean that the event will happen, but when several patrons (say 5) all request the same module.

Lastly, its awesome to point out that the results of the community conversations are already being inserted into our budget process. You can read the results of of the conversation here. Our draft budget prioritieshere reflect some of the lessons learned from the conversations. For example, “Highlight current services/resources through programs, resources, advertising, outreach” in the priorities being a direct result of “(m)ore often than we would like, they asked for services that we already offer” (from the Director’s report).



Filed under budget, Chat from the community, technology

3 responses to “My community conversation reflection (thanks to all who attended)

  1. Scott McMillan

    I work for TRL in Circulation and I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t work exactly like putting a book on reserve.

    • emmettoconnell

      I think technically, it wouldn’t be that hard. But, I think you’d need to make sure a certain number of people at a branch are requesting the event box. And, after that point, give staff at the branch the ability to change their schedule if they’re able to do the event itself.

      • Scott McMillan

        Maybe we’re talking about two different things. My comment was focused more on things like Connect boxes and PageTurner kits. As it works now these are requested through specific staff and sent to the individual branch where the patron is notified by circulation staff over the phone, and we note down that the person was notified. It seems like these could be ordered through the catalog with notification working the same way. It just seems like it would be easier, but there may be issues that would arise from doing it this way that I’m not seeing from where I stand. With modules like the Own the Night box there doesn’t seem to be any registration for them. I’ve not sure if that’s how these kinds of events using these modules usually work, but you’d probably want to ask staff that organize them for the reason why they’re not events people can register for. The current event registration system allows registrants to receive email notification. I don’t see any advantage of registering through Symphony, other than that all staff would be able to easily look up the patron’s record and see that they have a “hold” on this event, as well as be able to register them/place the hold, but the technical issues in getting something like that to work with Symphony might be insurmountable.

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