Founders’ Day: what library outreach can look like

by Amanda Viana , Head Editor , INALJ Massachusetts . . .

Founders’ Day : what library outreach can look like

AVianaphotoEvery community has its own unique events that bring people together. In the town where I work, the Founders’ Day Picnic is one of those events. Organized by the town’s Recreation Department (all volunteers), Founders’ Day is held on a Saturday in June at one of the town’s schools. Food vendors, live music, a bouncy castle, balloons, face painting, a petting zoo, fireworks…and the library.

Last year was the first year that the library participated in Founder’s Day, but this year we really hit our stride.  We set up shop right at the beginning, near the classic cars, and spent the afternoon setting up. We brought a fundraising raffle of Boston Bruins collectables, a free raffle for a bag of books, posters, bookmarks, stickers, and brochures for the Summer Reading Program, and plenty of handouts about our online services. Armed with an iPad mini, Virgin Mobile mifi, and wireless scanner, I spent the evening registering new patrons for library cards, happily informing them that they could begin to use the library’s services as soon as they got home—even though the library wouldn’t open again until Monday morning.

Some of us roamed the Picnic giving out information about teen volunteering opportunities while the rest of us manned the booth. We talked with lots of regular patrons and even more potential new ones. We drew people in with our raffles and handouts and started a conversation about how the library could serve them. Best of all, we firmly established ourselves as part of the community; we broke down the silo and got out into town. We marketed, we laughed, we connected, and we bonded with each other. We did library outreach, and it felt really, really good.

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