Meeting patrons where they spend most of their time is a fantastic way to extend the library’s presence into the community and to make the public aware of all the great opportunities they can have at a library. Also, local citizens want libraries to be in places where people can combine the library service with other activities such as shopping or other leisure activities.
This week, we will explore four ways how libraries could extend the library presence into the community by meeting patrons where they are the most.
1. Meet the patrons with discounts
Why not transform the library card into a discount card? The locals will have an incentive to create a library card and be in touch with the library as they will have free access to the library’s rich digital collection along with discounts for their favorite facilities in the city. This way, you can support the library and the local businesses whilst creating a connection with the community.
Take for example the “Flash Your Card” program created by Poudre River Public Library District. The card gives access to free books, music, and movies throughout the Poudre River Libraries as well as discounts and benefits at Fort Collins-area businesses.
Flash your library card program at Poudre River Public Library
2. Meet the patrons online
Getting closer to the community doesn’t mean that libraries should only focus on expanding their physical locations. Focusing on a few online tools is a great way to improve your library’s presence in the community since people are spending more and more time online.
Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Digital Strategy is a great example of a library that aims to create the ‘next generation library’ that works for its users. Columbus Metropolitan Library uses multiple digital channels such as; mobile apps, newsletters, press rooms, econtent, social media and much more to tell the library’s story and drive its strategies.
Columbus Metropolitan Library Website
3. Meet the patrons outdoor
Strategically designing the spaces outside the library could be a fantastic way to get the attention of citizens passing by whilst extending the library activities outside the walls. As Susan Benton (CEO of the Urban Libraries Council) says in an interview with Library Journal, libraries can use the outdoor spaces to promote literacy, celebrate diversity, and bolster economic development within their communities.
A notable example of libraries combining indoor and outdoor spaces is the Library Square created by Vancouver Public Library. The spaces serve to support the community members whether they are accessing library resources, meeting over coffee, shopping, or using city services.
4. Meet the patrons in a shopping mall
As libraries expand their services and become more attractive for their users, they also need to expand their physical spaces in order to keep up with the new demands. So why not take full advantage of a vacant place in a shopping mall where food, drinks and other leisure facilities are a few steps away?
You can give your library a modern look with less costs and along the way, reaching out to a bigger audience who would not normally visit the library.
Check out this newly-opened library inside COEX Mall, the largest underground shopping complex in Asia! With a spacious area, the two-story library is open to the public free of charge and it is one of the main attractions in the city.
To sum up, the spaces that libraries use are a fantastic way to remind the public of the services that libraries have to offer. By extending out to the community, whether that be through local businesses or having an online presence, libraries become more attractive to their users.
Stay tuned for our blog post next week where we will share more insights from the library world. Find us on social media via Facebook or Twitter and read the latest developments in libraries from around the world.