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Haines Borough Public Library Producing a Speaker Program for Public Libraries.

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1 Haines Borough Public Library Producing a Speaker Program for Public Libraries

2 Haines Borough Public Library Reaching Out to the Community The role of public libraries in communities is changing. No longer are libraries just places where books are collected and borrowed. Libraries are now having to compete with retail environments such as Barnes and Noble and Borders Books and Music. They also are having to justify the government dollars that fund them. To do this, many public libraries are diversifying their appeal by expanding their collections to include music, movies, audio books, technology classes and Internet access, as well as offering programs that engage people of all ages and a variety of interests. Speaker programs are just one of the ways that libraries are reaching out to the community and gaining new patrons and advocates. Tlingit women from Klukwan share their knowledge of weaving and display a Chilkat blanket that took seven years to complete at a program titled “Weaving a Cultural Tradition.”

3 Haines Borough Public Library Having a Vision Whether you’re a business, a public institution or an individual, it’s important to have a vision of who you are, what you want to accomplish, and where you want to go in the future. One of the visions that the Library Board has in their five- year plan is to behave more like a community center, offering a variety of programs for people of all ages. Programs for ChildrenPrograms for Teens Programs for the Whole FamilyPrograms for Adults

4 Haines Borough Public Library Keeping a File of Ideas Ideas for programs come from a variety of sources— trade publications such as Public Libraries and American Library Association; while searching for grant opportunities; from patrons; from funders; from articles in your local newspaper and other publications; from paying attention to needs in the community that aren’t being met but could be met; from young people!

5 Haines Borough Public Library Looking for Funding Opportunities Weave your vision to correlate with grant opportunities. It’s surprising what funding opportunities are available and what you can learn from them. One of the criteria when applying for grants is that a program be replicable, which means that you can get ideas as well as funding from granting organizations and businesses with grant programs.

6 Haines Borough Public Library Developing a Speaker Program The most important step is to establish a clear set of goals. And then to map your speaker program accordingly. For example, if your goal is to reach out to a more diverse audience to get new people to come to your library then you’ll need to think about how you can achieve that when determining the topics and speakers to schedule. Plan the schedule for the whole year; set the topics and dates (at least tentatively) with your speakers. You need to get on their schedules and to know when they are and are not available.  Serve a constituency beyond our year-round resident population.  Use the library as a vehicle to bring a humanities series to Haines to offer information and encourage discussion about the topics in an atmosphere of tolerance for diversity of opinion.  Create at least six children and youth programs that share the practice and study of human values.

7 Haines Borough Public Library Finding Speakers Look to universities, museums, speaker bureaus, and other businesses and institutions related to your topics for speakers. Look to people in your community who are experts in certain fields or passionate about particular subjects. Partner with other organizations that bring outside talent to your community. For example, you may be able to schedule a program that coincides with a visiting theatre group, musical group, artist, writer, storyteller, and so on.

8 Haines Borough Public Library Involving Volunteers Get patrons and businesses involved in the program. Ask a local coffee company if they’d like to donate coffee; a hotelier for a free room or discount; an airline for a free roundtrip ticket. Ask patrons to host a speaker and provide free housing, bake cookies to serve at the programs, bring flowers to decorate, and so on.

9 Haines Borough Public Library Creating Buzz Give your program a name around which you can create an identity to apply to all your communications materials. Get the media involved by sending out press releases, inviting them to programs, setting up interviews, and so on. If possible, create a printed schedule that you can have available at every program. Also have a web page listing programs and any information that will spark interest. Run ads. Send out special invitations, call patrons you know will be interested in certain topics, talk it up at every opportunity.

10 Haines Borough Public Library Soliciting Audience Response It’s important to know how your programs are being received by your audience. You can do formal questionnaires. You can talk to people after the performance. You can do phone surveys. Or you can have a “Quotation Notepad” at a table where people can give their feedback--not only about the specific program but also about other programs that’d like to see. QUOTATION NOTEPAD

11 Haines Borough Public Library Taking Pictures; Saying Thank You If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a thank you with pictures is priceless. Take pictures, not only as a way to document your program for reporting purposes, but also as a way to secure other funding and to say thank you to your speakers and any volunteers that contribute to the program.

12 Haines Borough Public Library Ending with a Big Finish If you can, try to plan something special for the last program. The final topic for our series was Civic Engagement so we brought in a singer/songwriter who is also a literacy activist. She did a program at the library on her literacy organization then also did a benefit concert to raise money for the Friends of the Library. It was a wonderful way to end the series and to give back to the Friends some of the matching funds they put towards acquiring the grant from the Alaska Humanities Forum.

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