7 Tips for Getting to Know Your New Community
by Annice Sevett, Senior Assistant, INALJ Minnesota
Like many of us in our profession, I moved to a new town for my first and current library job. As the new Adult Services Librarian, I was faced with the task of getting to know this new community I would be serving in order to serve them to the best of my ability.
Considering I had only been to the community twice before, for an interview and to look for an apartment, I knew very little when I walked into the library doors on my first day of work.
So where do you start?
The following places were crucial for me to learn about my new community:
1. Chamber of Commerce publications: These can be a great resource for general information about your new community, including the businesses in the area that could become future partnerships.
2. Census data: For the hard facts about your community, look at the US census data for the area. This will provide you with an overall picture of your patrons.
3. Local Newspaper: If your new community has a local newspaper, read it! Get in the habit of reading the headlines and you’ll discover the major issues people in your community care about. It will also help you on the reference desk.
4. Tourism Bureau: Most communities have a tourism bureau that put out publications about town happenings. This will give you a feel for what goes on in your new town and the interests your patrons may have.
While these publications are great, they can only take you so far. The next thing you can do? Get involved!
5. Continue your hobbies: Look for a local organization that supports one of your hobbies. You’ll meet new people, make connections and have fun all at the same time. For me, it was becoming a soccer referee.
6. Find business connections: In my town, the Chamber puts on weekly breakfasts for businesses to announce important upcoming events and to network.
7. Attend seminars: Most communities will bring in speakers and have special events, whether they are related to business doings or not. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to attend these informative events. You may find your next library speaker at the same time.
I have taken advantage of many opportunities to learn about my community, make valuable connections, and better serve my community. These opportunities won’t come to you – you’ll have to be proactive and seek them out. Find something you’ll enjoy and go for it – trust me, you won’t regret it!