I’ve been discovering lately that no one in town knows much about the library. Everywhere I go I come across complete ignorance about libraries. Can I blame the people who don’t know about it? NO, it’s our job to market ourselves and clearly we aren’t doing this enough!
When I get my hair cut, take a first aid class, go to the bank, or do basically anything people ask me what I do- just to be polite and when I answer they look at me confused.
“there are kids at the PUBLIC library? I thought they went to school libraries”
“Youth Services, so that’s like with juvee and trouble makers?”
“so you just arrange the books?” “how can you have a party at the library, won’t they get in trouble for talking?”
“the library has computers? With Internet?”
“No! they don’t have movies do they?”
“How much would it cost if I decided to get a library card?”
This is not an isolated problem, my family wasn’t aware of all the services offered by libraries until I decided I wanted to go to library school (another thing people are always SHOCKED about) and talked their ears off about it. Many of my close friends in different cities had no idea many libraries offer ebooks, audiobooks and feature films. The problem seems more prominent here because I’m in a small town, which makes the % of people who know about what the library tries to provide them with is very small.
So where are we failing in getting the message out?
We already use: newspapers (I’ve been in the paper a lot and my events even more), website, Facebook, Twitter, school newsletters, local message boards, posters around town in stores, malls and the bulletin board downtown. I don’t have an advertising budget for children’s or teens but even if I did, the only place I wish I could afford is the local cinema.
I think the problem may be that we advertise specific events, with an assumption that basic library services are common knowledge. Maybe what we should be pushing is that library cards are FREE and that you can check out up to 100 items at once. So many people ask me if they can have 2 books at the same time, so they can bring one home for their spouse. Of course they can! Why aren’t we making this more clear?
The answer is that I don’t know how to.
If you read my blog you’re probably an avid reader, so tell me do you know about your library- how could they reach you better?