The California Museum Association Conference, Thursday

I’m at the California Museum Association conference, learning that the museum zeitgeist is in a similar place to the library zeitgeist.  They’re focusing on community engagement and experiences, and trying to balance what it takes to attract new audiences with what core members expect.  They’re moving from the stewardship of things to the cultivation of people.

Thursday I went to:

Meaningful Community-Centered Engagement: Lessons Learned
Moderator: Lisette Islas, Director of Partner & Civic Engagement, San Diego Grantmakers. Presenters: Rob Sidner, Director, Mingei International Museum; Gwen Gómez, Manager of Community Programs and Bilingual Initiatives, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art; Micah Parzen, CEO, San Diego Museum of Man.

This session described how The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation worked with three museums to engage citizens from San Diego’s Diamond neighborhood.  Moderator Lisette Islas described how she had found that the arts were a great carrot for involvement; asking folks to help plan a celebration of their culture got a lot more involvement than asking folks to come to a housing meeting.

She described how a donor had asked her to put together a collaborative project that would involve Diamond Residents and the Balboa Park museums.  Initial meetings allowed people to break bread with each other and provided plenty of time to talk and plan.

Islas told a story about a Somali refugee: this woman had never been to a museum, and had no idea what they were about or how to act in one.  She would not take her kids to a museum, because she couldn’t help them with the experience – she had no context, and couldn’t help them to behave properly.  They realized they might need to provide an exhibit from the museum, outside the museum.  They realized they needed to be PROACTIVE in showing people how to experience their institutions, and in inviting people in.

Projects developed included: kids from the neighborhood made murals, and then people from the neighborhood came to the museum to see what their youth had done.  A Behind the scenes at the museum event, which created a magic moment.  A project(s) on the theme Rites of passage.

On a five year trajectory, OUTCOMES for Mingei included working toward staff parity (40% of San Diego is Mexican-American but this is not reflected in staff) and funding a Community Relations Manager – who works with staff to help them be more engaged with the community.

Some advice:

  • On Managing multiple stakeholders (aka pleasing everybody): Build consensus with who you have, then defend your process.
  • Believe in yourself, but allow yourself to change.
  • It’s uncomfortable, but don’t be afraid to ask your audience, “how are we failing you and why?”
  • Make a space for others to lead.
  • You can’t please everyone, but you gotta stay at the table.
  • If we are truly committed to community engagement, this work needs to be built into the budget, not grant-funded

Audience question mentioned School in the Park which sounds AWESOME, an experiential learning lab which uses museums and Balboa park as a classroom.

Translating to libraries, and other thoughts:

What are carrots  a library can provide?  Literacy? Stories

Libraries can be community connectors too.

Find an organization that’s engaged in the community and jump on board.  Collaborate with peers in doing so.  Discuss processes openly.

Do people want to see behind the scenes at the library?

Should we bus people into libraries?

Should we invite neighborhood associations in for a tour and mixer?

  • Annually?  Meet your neighbors @the library.

Partner with a museum to create a library exhibit?

Presentation alluded to “museum manners,” the idea that there’s a certain way to behave in a museum, talking about how project worked with people so “they know how to act.”  For an inspiring presentation about a project that truly was “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” I found the existence of museum manners a bit of an anachronism.  Aren’t we working toward “be yourself” manners?  “Library manners” are a thing too, and a lot of old audience/new audience conflict surrounds the idea that new library patrons aren’t acting correctly.  We’re relaxing a lot of traditional library rules in order to meet a wider audience – the new library is not quiet.  

BUT, there’s also the idea that manners allow people to feel more comfortable by ensuring that we are behaving in a way that is not causing ourselves or another person distress.  Non-audiences might want to be inducted into “proper behavior,” might feel more comfortable and empowered if they have knowledge of the “correct” way to behave.  Breaking the rules of library manners has been a privilege of and conversation amongst those who already know the rules.

 Session 2E: Putting the Fun in Profundity: A Conversation About Compelling Museum Social Justice Work 

Moderator: Ben Garcia, Deputy Director, San Diego Museum of Man. Presenters: Lisa Sasaki, Director, Audience & Civic Engagement Center, Oakland Museum of California; Sheri Bernstein, Vice President of Education, Skirball Cultural Center.

This presentation talked about the ways that fun and the profound can appear together at the museum.  The pursuit of social justice (fair distribution of wealth, opportunities and privileges) is richer and more effective if fun is part of the equation.

If we include an institutional intent for Social justice, this can often be at odds with a perceived need for neutrality.  However, social justice seeking is ok.  It’s good to pursue JOY-CENTERED work.  What is fun? Fun is: quality family time.  Fun is: pleasure without guilt.  Participation is fun Creativity is fun Generative is fun.  Balance the best and worst of humanity with a wellspring of joy.  (Anthropology’s dark history is a one-way view that is very privileged.  How do we translate to a new present? By joining the fun and the profound.)

At the Museum of Man, they put together an exhibit of Native American Skateboard art, and included a half-pipe (with skateboarders) as part of the exhibition.  This upset some of their traditionally-minded stakeholders, but brought a lot of new interest from the city.

Museum of Man has two exhibits: Beerology, 2000 years of brewing history, which includes beer tasting, and Empowering Women, which talks about female co-ops around the world.  These exhibits are adjacent to each other and in this way the earnest and inspiring and the FUN share the same space.

Their Monsters exhibit was cross-cultural, engaging, diverse, and FUN, but was it profound?  No really.

Will this be true for your visitors?  “I am inspired to seek out other transformative experiences”

The Skirball museusm, a Jewish American Cultural Center, includes as part of their mission the wish to “create a society in which everyone can feel at home.  They created a Noah’s Ark exhibit, which serves as an introduction for proFUNd experiences.  The  exhibit tells a horizontal story about all the creatures of the world – that everyone is welcome in Noah’s ark.

One exhibit they created was called “Build a Better World.”  The wooden frame of a house was adorned with cards describing families that Habitat for Humanity was building homes for.  Visitors could write a welcome card for a family.  It also included a store where kids could use play money to buy real groceries for the families.  This exhibit/activity was do-able, open-ended, and had a story tie-in.

I found this whole program compelling, but was especially moved by how Sheri Bernstein expressed the Skirball’s pursuit of it’s mission.  Her idea of fun is authentic, but open to risk taking and failure.

Museum people can tell a good story.

Sometimes you have to “make it palatable,” to create stealth social justice.  Fun can still be profound.

The Oakland Museum of California has a Friday night program which is successful.  Friday nights will include a community partner and social justice element.  The want to amplify community voices. They also have a program which is Community Healing through Song, where a musician works with a community to create an original song.

Adversity and Opposition:

  • fun is different things to different people
  • you can let go of some stakeholders
  • Embrace the critique as an INTENTION, reframe the conversation as “Yes!  Let’s talk about this.  We *are* starting this conversation”
  • People will come to fun.

Welcome is intrinsic to doing Fun & Good Work.  Identity is intrinsic to doing Fun & Good Work.  Enjoy yourself and do good at the same time.

Library thoughts:

 Libraries are supposed to be neutral too.  We need a Vatican II for libraries.

Should we do a “Night at the Library”?

Libraries, like museums, are moving from being grounded in objects to grounded in experiences.

Session 3C: Creating Meaning Through Crowd-sourced Content

Moderator: Susanne Clara Bard, Content Developer, Coast to Cactus in Southern California, San Diego Natural History Museum. Presenters: Wes Hsu, UX/UI Designer, Balboa Park Online Collaborative; Joaquin Ortiz, Director of Education and Innovation, Museum of Photographic Arts.

The San Diego Natural History Museum included crowd-sourced content in their Coast to Cactus Exhibit, including oral histories about camping in Southern California.  Bard played an interview with a little girl who had some great observations, including that camping allows you to see what life was like when we didn’t exist, and that nature doesn’t hurt your brain cells.  They also included a memory tree, where people could respond to a prompt.

Hsu talked about a project working to get people to develop their own exhibit.  They had a tile wall where people could create their own galleries.  They produced simple themes like “trees” and “my favorites”  Hsu said that the application was not shallow enough – there were too many steps and people got bored.  He concluded that people don’t want to think.  They want a lighter experience that they can enjoy with their date or family.  Libraries should keep it simple stupid.

At this point, I skipped over to a concurrent session:

Inspiring Guests to Take Action

Moderator: Amy Miller, Director of Public Programs, California Academy of Sciences. Presenters: Nette Pletcher, Director of Conservation Education, Association of Zoos and Aquariums; Charina Cain Layman, Education Manager, Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Maya O’Connor, Senior Educator, San Diego Zoo Global.

World Oceans Day (at the San Diego Zoo?) was an exhibit that included Action Ask cards (asking the guest to take an action on leaving the museum), as well as an activity and story.  It transmitted the idea that small actions could influence the larger community.  Founded on the Touch the Heart, Change the Mind principle.

I didn’t stay for a lot of this presentation, but they talked about how Telling a Story can change behavior and create an advocate.  The San Diego Zoo also talked about how it’s important to inspire employees, and then they will go on to inspire guests.

Finally I caught the last half hour or so of a third concurrent session:

Using Public Programs as a Pathway to Engage Diverse Visitors: Strategies for Audience Development and Ensuring Relevance

Moderator: Stacy Lieberman, Executive Vice President and Deputy Director, Autry National Center of the American West. Presenters: Grant Barrett, Marketing Manager, San Diego Museum of Man; Robyn Hetrick, Director, Programs and Public Events, Autry National Center of the American West; January Parkos Arnall, Curatorial Assistant, Public Engagement, Hammer Museum.

The Autry Museum started a program of movies on the lawn, which were very popular.  They created exhibit tie ins, which sometimes were a reach but were ultimately pretty successful (e.g. Jaws and Dangerous Animals of the American West).  They also created a program in partnership with American Girl.  The flyer was in the American Girl store and that gave the Autry Museum a HUGE publicity boost.  Robyn Hetrick said that you need to put partners through your rubric to make sure it’s worth it, but that there can be huge returns.

This presentation explored more of the conflict between core members and new visitors.  Core members seem to be associated with staid, quiet and contemplative museums, whereas new visitors are drawn by boisterous fun and unusual partnerships.  However, increasing visibility and visits with boisterous fun can still boost attendance to the contemplative programs – for example one panelist said they were now getting audiences of 100+ at scholarly lectures.

Through the use of timing, and by having a varied portfolio of programs, a museum can still serve both audiences.  Marketing methods (social media v. paper) can help you reach the audience that’s most appropriate for your program.

They also discussed internal conflicts. Some museum have programming in more than one department – scholarly and public programs, for example, and the museum resources are prioritized in such a way that not everyone can win all the time.  They discussed the value of having a marketing voice at the table from the beginning, to help make choices that would happen at the right time for success.  ROI was brought up as an important consideration.  What is the museum making from memberships v. donors v. event tickets?  Is just holding the event enough of a success, or are you hoping for other outcomes?  Are you trying to maximize the one-time interest revenue?  Are you getting millennials into the museum?  (millennials are not museum members) They referenced the LaPlaca-Cohen study.  Are these one night stands worth it?

Ticket prices rule out some audiences.  It’s important to figure out what price your audience is willing to pay.  But, you may want to increase pricing for people who won’t become members.

The Autry museum created a successful event where people were invited to Curate a Gallery by making storyboards.

How do you track success and demographics?  Can watch who’s coming in (but demographic info is often not visible).  The audience showing up – that’s the survey.  Hold events that draw in the audience, and then fine-tune further events once you know who’s showing up.

The Hammer museum replaced security guards with Museum Experience Representatives, who were trained to see if someone was struggling with content or open to guidance.  They had training in how to help the audience appreciate a more complex work, in how to approach a visitor with kids, etc.

We carefully curate our own lives.  To be surprised is a breath of fresh air.

Good stories can take you far down the path.

 

I hate politics but I love voting

Today I voted at an elementary school across the street from the projects.  Everybody was super nice.  I got to vote for my favorite politician of all time, Barbara Lee.  Voting rocks.  Here is a repost of something I wrote about voting in 2011.

-Emily

Photo: Bain News Service via The Library of Congress at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ggb2004008785/

I hate politics but I love voting!

Normally I vote under the watchful eye of Jesus at the Christian Science Reading Room, but this time I voted at the Buddhist Bookstore.  I never thought of Buddhists as being more commercially-minded than Christians, but there you go. Anyway they are both LITERARY VENUES!

My poll workers were a teenage girl and an older woman.  The teenage girl wanted to try looking up my name in the book, but the older woman didn’t think she was ready yet.  Then I went to the privacy booth.  I used my smartphone to look at my notes about what I wanted to vote for!  I got two choices for some things, and THREE choices for others.  We have ranked choice voting. I used a special marker to make the arrows complete.  It is like taking the SAT only shorter and you have to stand. But YOUR ENTIRE FUTURE still depends on the outcome.

Then I fed my ballot into the machine, chomp chomp, and got a free sticker! I said thank you to everyone and they all gave me big smiles.  I live in a democracy!  We all do our part.

Photo: Lewis Walker, via the Library of Congress at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/owi2001042017/PP/

(Go John Avalos,  Go!)

Writing Round-Up

I’m not doing a lot of writing here, nowadays, but I’ve got some writing other places:

MVPL Bike Stop

I’m writing a series for BayNet, a local library organization, about a bikes-and-libraries initiative at my work.

Simple Steps to Starting a Seed Library

Print only, at the moment.  An article for Public Libraries Magazine.

seed liberry

What Candidates Want: How to Practice Compassionate Hiring

Some lessons from the Hiring Librarians job hunter survey.

Library Jobs Math

Refuting the idea that there will soon be a “shortage of librarians and sea captains.”  Numbers don’t lie folks.

and finally, not a piece of writing but a fun project I’m working on:

The Library-2-Library Bicycle Tour

Please join us for a morning of bicycles, libraries, and fun.

library_2_library_2014

 

A Man Made Process

I run that blog Hiring Librarians, so I read a lot of job hunting advice.  Not just on the site, but other places too – I tend to scan for it on my library social media haunts (Reddit, ALATT, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.).

One reason I started the blog is because I kept seeing a lot of people dispense really bad job advice in a very authoritative manner.

It is easy to say “I have hired people and here is the one thing you should never do.”  It is easy to believe a person who talks like this.  Getting hired is a social process, and it is a common thing to suspect that there are hidden rules we know nothing about.  Especially if we have never done hiring, or never hired in the LIS field.  Especially if we are desperate for a job.

The person dispensing the advice often believes that they are doing a favor by explaining the rules.  For example, there’s this ALATT post where the poster provides a list of seven no-no’s for job applicants.  It’s not necessarily bad advice, but it’s just one person’s list.  Her rules are HER rules, not THE rules, no matter how authoritatively she states that they are true. For example, the 4th point, no monograms or images on a resume, comes up for some interesting debate in the comments.

Here is the thing.  The whole process of hiring, all the conventions, the idea that a resume should be a certain number of pages, the idea that a resume shouldn’t have photos, the necessity of a cover letter -we just made all of that process up.  Hiring is not something that occurs in nature, it’s a man-made process.

And, frankly, it’s often a badly designed process.  For both the hirer and the hiree.  Being able to conform to unwritten social conventions, ones that vary widely from region to region and institution to institution, is not really a good measure of whether someone is going to be a fantastic librarian.  It sometimes indicates whether someone will fit into a workplace’s culture, but the hiring process is often very divorced from the day to day – it is it’s own particular set of rules and expectations.

And if we made it, we can change it.  Right?

Damforms

 

Beyond the Book Brand

As books evolve, so must libraries.  As information needs change, so must we.  Thus begins another chapter in As the Library Turns.

Books are intrinsically linked with libraries, in the minds of our patrons.  As much as I hate the whole concept of branding, I have to admit it perfectly describes our situation.  Books are our brand.

We must expand the brand.  You probably know that.   For a recent reason, check out the article published a few days ago in Forbes that was written by a man who thinks the Amazon unlimited subscription is a good replacement for libraries.

Librarians-The-Ultimate-Search-HSL_i_H11109

Some librarians are pushing to substitute the concept of “Information” in to replace books.  This is the kind of thinking that gives us “Librarians: The Ultimate Search Engine” and “Librarians: Better than Bing, but not Quite as Good as Google,” etc., etc.

Information sucks as a brand.

Maybe one reason why librarians like “Information” as a brand so much is because librarians really like information.  It fills us with secret glee.  But folks, friends, comrades, this is not normal. Loving information is a trait that is much more common amongst librarians than it is in the general population.

In Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, Gary Vaynerchuck writes,

Information is cheap and plentiful; information wrapped in a story, however, is special.  Brands need to storytell around their content to make it enticing, not just put it out for passive consumption like a boring platter of cubed cheese. (p.86)

Books don’t just tell a story, they have a story.  They are a story.  Books inspire deep emotional connections.  They are tangible things, things we can touch, smell and taste (maybe not that that last one with the library books though ok?).  Books inspire deep love and nostalgia; in the eBook versus print discussion, the print side inevitably ends the discussion by sighing and saying, “there’s just no substitute for a real book.”

But even eBooks are more compelling than “Information”.  “Information” is vague.  It is not something you can viscerally enjoy.  Possible connotations include the informational talk your doctor gives you when your cholesterol is too high, Excel spreadsheets filled with meaningless data, and those annoying passive-aggressive emails your co-worker sends that end “Just FYI.”

I don’t know what the new library brand is.  I don’t think we will know until something has stuck, decades in the future.

Another new brand option is the place for the community to meet, the library as “third place.”  I don’t think that’s quite right either.

I think the new library brand will look something more like literacy.  And not just “I can read” literacy, but life literacy – digital skills, financial skills, engaged-with-the-world skills.

Literacy is engaging.  It is action oriented.  It is attainable by everyone.  It is improving skills and changing in a changing world.  That’s the library I’m interested in.

It’s the library where people’s stories become our story.

220px-AURYN_72

 

 

 

The Semiotics of Organizing

Librarian confessions time: we like to organize things.

When you’re in the biz, occasionally a colleague will sidle up to you and whisper, “This weekend I alphabetized my spice cabinet.”  Then you’ll both sort of sigh contentedly at the idea of such domestic order.  It’s not just spices either. You might hear, “Last night I organized my spoons by degree of roundness” or  “My towels are now in thread count order.” It seems to run in the family too.  The proudest moment in the life of a librarian parent might be the day they walk in on their child pulling books off the shelf…and then putting them back, in subject groupings.

Although I was a messy child, I grew to love a well-ordered house.  I think it’s because my husband and I have spent most of our life together in tiny spaces, from our first two years sharing a single room, followed by five years in a studio apartment, then six in a one bedroom.  When you have very little space, order is a necessity.  This is where my love of organization was born, from the need to fit in comfortably.

Somewhere in the last six months though, I stopped feeling the need to have my spray cleaners lined up by height.  My books aren’t even in any particular order (other than the basic non-fiction/fiction separation of course).  Nowadays, I only organize things for money.

In my mind I draw parallel between the work my sister does, as a professional actor, and the work I do. When you start out in acting, you work for free all the time.  You’re building your skills and your reputation, your “chops.”  Then you start to get recognition, and courtesy money.  You get paid for acting – not enough to live on surely, but enough to call yourself a professional.  You get paid a little more, and then a little more, and maybe you find a side job teaching acting, and then finally it’s your living, and you only do it for free if it’s a really good cause.

It’s such silly conversation to have with yourself, but it’s a common one:  Am I a librarian now?  Does reluctance toward amateur organizing mean I am finally a professional?  Or is it merely the fact that we moved, and have a bit more space, and oh yeah, I’m working a lot and busy. Maybe that’s the true sign of a professional librarian.

organized neatly

PS Librarians, have you seen Things Organized Neatly?  I know many who find it very soothing.

Programifesto

I kind of hate that whole “program in a box” thing.

It’s the death of creativity, right?  It’s an industrialized, one-size-fits-all librarianship. It’s that standardized bureaucracy that is killing our ability to be supple and responsive.  It’s programming fast food.  Here is your Big Mac storytime ma’am, made just like every other storytime in the system.

Here’s another niggling peeve: the library is not a theater, even though some librarians seem to think that their programming should consist of paying performers to come give a show.

Programming is the opportunity for the librarian to creatively engage patrons.  Programming allows us to create a stronger bond between our community and the library, both by providing an interactive library experience for patrons and by bringing community members in to share their passions.  We program for our communities, in response to our communities, and in partnership with our communities.

Originality is required.

Library programming helps us to create new stakeholders.  Inviting the community in to work with us creates a sense of ownership in the library.  Once someone, or some group, has attended or presented a library program (as long as it has been a positive experience) they will more actively and vocally support libraries. Programs can identify new user groups, as innovative programs may attract people who do not otherwise use library resources.

Care, attention, and weight should be given to program presenters and attendees.

Library programming gives us the opportunity to share the kind of information that is not well-recorded.  Take for example, gardening. While broader guidelines for when to plant and how to cultivate have been published, gardeners adapt to local soil conditions and microclimates.  They learn through experience what works.  This information is best shared person-to-person.

Programs allow libraries to share more kinds of information.

box

 

Sorting Patrons

The public library tries to be all things to all people (every reader his book; every book it’s reader)

Bobbi Newman wrote this interesting piece in which she talks about how certain people may support libraries, but they will never use them, no matter how many tempting programs or resources we dangle.

I agree with her, based on my personal experience. I know lots of people who *loooooove libraries* but have’t set foot in one since childhood. Do we really need to expend precious resources to try to get them in the door?

Newman suggests that we focus more on community support for the library, rather percentage of community with library cards. She says that we would be better off accepting that “some people don’t use the library for one reason or another.” 

Here’s the conundrum though, how do we sort the people who don’t use libraries because they just don’t want to, from the people who don’t use libraries because they’ve been turned off somehow (or because they don’t know we have what they want)?

It *is* impossible to be all things to all people. Trying is an exercise in futility and failure.

But then, at what point do we find someone unserveable?  What criteria do we use?

Accepting that we can’t serve everyone threatens the fundamentally democratic nature of libraries. When people become unserveable, we exclude them from what should be the most inclusive of communities.  Libraries are for everyone, even if everyone is not for libraries.

But this is an ideal, and given our limited resources, we need to exercise pragmatism.  Right?

sorting mail

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Big Shush

At my library, the patrons are often more protective of quiet than we librarians are.  There is one woman who seems particularly bothered by even the quietest of conversations.  She will frequently come up to me to ask, “Is talking allowed in this library?”  or “Are cell phones allowed in this library?”  Each time I tell her, “Yes, quiet conversations are allowed in the library” and point out our two silent rooms, where talking is not allowed.

Modern librarians are often reluctant shushers.  We want people to think we’re fun.  We want libraries to be vibrant, energy-filled buildings.  We hope to shake off the dusty book mausoleum image and usher ourselves into the 21st century as more of a party institution.  And most importantly maybe, we want the people who have not felt welcomed by the sternly guarded quiet of yesteryear to COME TO THE LIBRARY.

But many of our hardcore patrons want hallowed silence.  They want to consume their dusty books in uninterrupted peace.  They are studying, or concentrating, or contemplative, or sometimes just generally mysanthropic.

This conflict reminds me of what I’ve read about the silent cars on the New York/New Jersey train.  The piece I’m thinking of was in the New Yorker a few years ago, but that’s behind a paywall. Here’s some discussion of them in the New York Times. 

My library is lucky enough to have not one but two quiet rooms (one with screens, one without).  We have an accommodation we can point out to these folks. Sometimes though, this still is not enough.  They want to use a library computer, for example, or the quiet room is full, or they are just offended by the notion that there is a sound or a cell phone in the library.

So what do you do to resolve these conflicts? An invitation to the world?  Ask them to suck it up?  Silence the offenders?

This is kind of a key image issue.  There has recently been a lot of talk about What Librarians Look Like, but maybe a more important question for our users is “What do libraries sound like?”  How do we create a new image, and a new reality, which is friendly and inviting, which welcomes noise and participation, but which respects the needs of our silence-loving power users?

The Quiet Place

Master Classes in Customer Service

I just finished a gig working for the illustrious Gay Ducey, who, in addition to being a highly acclaimed storyteller, manages a small branch library.  Ducey has what I consider to be the perfect background for a public librarian; she is from the South, she has a background in theater and storytelling, and she was a social worker for a little while, before moving to libraries.

When people come into the branch, Ducey will often lean her elbows on the counter and say, “How you doin’?” in that particular way Southern women have of opening a conversation.  And here’s the thing, she’s interested in the response.  She’s attentive to stories of ailments, triumphs, grandbabies, and heartfelt philosophical treatises.  And she’ll remember this person, and their conversation, the next time they come in.  Ducey knows the names of all the regulars.  Not because she’s got a particular knack for names, but because she makes it a point to learn them.

To grow a library community, you must cultivate people.  You must get to know your patrons.  In library school, we learned about environmental scans, and patron surveys.  These tools are useful.  If you want to get to know your community, the numbers help.

But when Gay Ducey wants to know what books to purchase for her patrons, she asks them.

That personal touch is worth any number of reports.  This interaction is what’s really driving the library

Welcome HOme