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).