Library Board seeks Support for Strategic Outreach

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Local library staff have introduced pop-up locations as part of their outreach program.

Local library staff have introduced pop-up locations as part of their outreach program.

Library CEO Karla Buckborough and Outreach Coordinator Lindsay Molloy presented an update on developments in library programs instituted over the past six months during the September 19th Council meeting. As part of the Strategic Plan presented to Council in June, Cavan Monaghan Library Board members outlined a series of goals for their two locations. One of their primary objectives was to increase the number of programs and events available through the local library locations. They proposed to achieve this by establishing programs and events that respond to the diverse interests and needs of all patrons, targeting specific groups such as seniors, teens, etc. with special events such as bridge game nights, and the promote the library to groups such as scouts and guides through demonstrations of library services, tours, etc.

To this end library staff have hosted pop-up booths at community events such as the Millbrook Farmers’ Market and the Fishing Derby, extended story time events and created an electronic community calendar linked to local media. A new story time was launched this September introducing S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) to children under the age of 5. New relationships with organizations such as the Women’s Institute, PRHC and local elementary schools have been established, and the library media presence on Facebook, twitter, Instagram and the local paper has been increased. There has been extensive positive community feedback for these initiatives.

The next steps in the library’s outreach plan is to establish a local youth volunteer pool, develop some after school programming, initiate an On-line teen writing and book club and develop more weekend events to increase traffic to the library. Through a community survey planned for this fall, staff will gather feedback from the community to help them tailor their programming, times and activities to increase the use of library resources by the public.

Council members commended Buckborough and Molloy for the success of their outreach activities. Molloy has been delivering programs with the library since 2014, and last March took on more responsibility and more hours through a pilot project which the library funded from an unanticipated HST rebate. Acknowledging that these accomplishments have been achieved largely through efforts made possible by the increased hours provided in the pilot project, staff laid the groundwork for an extension of this position through ongoing budget support. These budget discussions will not begin until December.

While recognizing the achievements of the library, Deputy Mayor Fallis suggested that during the preparation of their budget, staff look for cost savings in other areas to help fund the additional hours for the outreach position to increase the feasibility of them becoming permanent. It was also suggested they collect firm usage data for specific programs and activities to support their argument for increased funding. KG

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