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Community Outreach  Natalie Cole Programs Director and Interest Group Liaison California Library Association  Joanna Axelrod Youth Services Librarian.

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Presentation on theme: "Community Outreach  Natalie Cole Programs Director and Interest Group Liaison California Library Association  Joanna Axelrod Youth Services Librarian."— Presentation transcript:

1 Community Outreach  Natalie Cole Programs Director and Interest Group Liaison California Library Association  Joanna Axelrod Youth Services Librarian II Escondido Public Library Natalie and Joanna will talk about reaching out with your summer reading program. You heard earlier about the outcomes initiative, of which outreach is a key component. Natalie will start off by giving a quick overview of outcome 2, the outreach outcome, and then Joanna will provide some great ideas and examples for reaching out to the community.

2 Outcome 2 [Desired number] of [underserved target group] participate in the summer reading program.
This outcome is phrased as an output, but it actually indicates a change in behavior among the target group. 2

3 Why reach out with the summer reading program
Why reach out with the summer reading program? “At that moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better. It’s an enormous force for good.” (Barack Obama, 2005) Think of the outcomes initiative as a tool to help you reach the groups you’ve always wanted to bring into the library! Outcome 2 was developed by our team of librarians in light of: the results of our outcomes pilot project which took place between 2008 and 2010, and the publication of research by Dominican University -- both of which show that summer reading participants are mostly active and engaged readers who already use the library. We all know from anecdotal evidence, and the research, that there are many children, teens, and adults who are not currently participating in summer reading. And many of the people who don’t participate are the same people who might benefit most from the summer reading program and from the introduction to the library that the program can provide. The authors of the Dominican study call for libraries to reach out and expand the range of people who participate in summer reading programs. And outcome two was developed to encourage and enable more summer reading outreach, and to help libraries demonstrate the results of their outreach. 3

4 Since 2010: 2,654 underserved children, teens, and families have participated in summer reading programs as part of the outcomes initiative. They include: * Teen moms * Children enrolled in a literacy program * Migrant children * Teens in a residential drug facility * New and expectant parents * Youth in detention facilities Since 2010, 2,654 previously-underserved children, teens, and families have been introduced to summer reading programs as part of the outcomes initiative. Everyone will have different groups that they want to reach out to. The initiative gives you the tools to reach out to whoever is underserved in your community. The slide shows some examples of groups who have been reached out to in the last couple of years. The outreach can have ongoing impact in the community. This year, one librarian from the Los Angeles Public Library reported that: “The success to me was seeing so many new faces in the library. I continue to see some of them even after the close of the program, saying hello and of course checking out books.” 4

5 Resources (1)  Conducting effective outreach  Developing relationships with underserved groups  Programming suggestions  Preparing to partner, communication, expectations, and follow-up  Core principles and activities for partnerships with community-based summer programs The outcomes initiative provides you with resources to help you reach out to underserved groups: Our website includes information on how to reach out effectively with your summer reading program, tips on developing relationships with underserved communities, and programming suggestions. We also have a set of resources tailored specifically to libraries that want to develop partnerships with community-based summer enrichment programs. In 2011, 438 low-income children and teens participated in summer reading as a result of partnerships between community-based summer programs and California libraries. Many more students visited the library, received library cards and participated in programs as a result of these partnerships which were funded by a grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The partnerships are part of a statewide initiative titled, Summer Matters: A New Vision for Summer Learning in California. CLA is a partner to this initiative and thanks to the funding we have received from the Foundation we have been able to develop an online partnership resources that is available to all libraries and includes: --information on preparing to partner, communication, expectations and follow-up --core principles and activities for partnerships with community-based summer programs --programming suggestions 5

6 Resources (2)  Surveys  Focus group questions
Because the support we’re providing for summer reading outreach is part of CLA’s outcomes initiative, the outcomes surveys and focus groups are at the heart of the resources we provide. The surveys and focus groups enable you evaluate the results or the outcome of your outreach. They will tell you how well your outreach efforts are working and what things you might need to change. And you can use the results to tell everyone how well you’re doing! Using the surveys you can record the number of people you reach out to and use those data to promote your work. The focus group questions help you to talk to your outreach group and find out what they want and need from the library. And you can report the results of your outreach to CLA and make sure your library is included in the statewide statistics. 6

7 Families from the East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC) enjoy an Open House at Oakland Public Library.
This has just been a brief overview to highlight the emphasis we’re placing on outreach with the summer reading program and to tell you about some of our resources and results. I will be talking more about summer reading outreach with Virginia Walter and Eva Mitnick in a program on Sunday afternoon. We will discuss needs assessments, how to create community partnerships, issuing surveys, and how to convene and conduct great focus groups -- all illustrated by examples from this summer and from Eva’s experience of conducting outcome-based evaluation at the Los Angeles Public Library. Now I will hand over to Joanna who has some fabulous ideas for reaching out to your communities. 7

8 Form Partnerships Ally with school media specialists
Forge strategic partnerships Teen Parents counselors Foster youth foster parents/group homes Kids outside school district homeschoolers Juvenile offenders Juvie Librarian/Warden Now that Natalie has thoroughly convinced you of the necessity of doing outreach, I’m going to give you some specific examples of effective outreach strategies. This first slide may be blatantly obvious to most of you, but I can’t emphasize how important it is to form partnerships in the community. A personal connection can open doors that have been either been closed due to longstanding issues with staff or have never really been opened before. School media specialists can be a great place to start because you already have a common interest in libraries and getting kids and teens to read. The library tech from one of our Escondido high schools started volunteering at my library a few years ago because she wanted to get more experience in a different type of library. We became great friends as well as colleagues, and I can’t tell you how many introductions she’s made for me with other high school media techs. She’s also gotten me on the agenda at faculty meetings, PTA meetings, and in-service days. Outside of the schools, you need to determine who your target population is that you want to reach out to. From there, figure out who the important, trusted contacts are in their spheres and ally yourselves with them. 8

9 Think Outside the…Library
Once you’ve full ingratiated yourself with all the key players at your school district (and by key players remember that I don’t necessarily mean the superintendents and principals) then it’s time to move on to the hard work. One of our biggest challenges that we face as librarians (specifically public librarians) is to reach out and hook those kids and teens who don’t already come to the library. We don’t have a built-in audience of patrons so we really have to think outside the box and outside the confines of the library to reach users who may not even know we exist much less what we have to offer them. These are some examples of places that librarians have looked to find a new base of patrons. The Sacramento Food Bank offers a summer program for children ages The food bank staff did all of the sign-ups and assisted the children with working through their reading bingo cards. All the library staff had to do was prepare the materials and then visited 3 times throughout the summer to do storytimes for the younger children and a separate program for the older ones. At the end, the kids were given books as prizes. The idea came from a stall member whose friend volunteered there, so really be open to inspiration in any form. The Sac library staff used a slightly adapted version of that same BINGO card for the Juvenile Hall participants. Because it wasn’t possible to have library staff conduct the program, this was even less work for the library. They were, however, still able to get books into the hands of the juvenile offenders and the unit with the most finishers were given a party which left the teens with a positive association with reading & the library. Although these started out as summer programs, they have the potential to grow into year-round partnerships and programming opportunities and have provided the library with a channel thru which to reach these underserved populations. SPA – foster teens; background in foster care I reached out to librarian; donated books & registered SRP What’s great about these examples is that, in many cases, these are the children and families that need our support and services the most. 9

10 Tips for Coordinating Off-Site Programs
Arm yourself with research – CLA can help! Sell your services Make it easy for them Be persistent! When you’re reaching out to community groups, it’s important that you arm yourself with research about the value of library services and the breadth of resources that we provide for free. I know it’s shocking to us, but not everyone out there sees the value in libraries that we do. CLA can assist you with this: <> On that note, you also want to sell your services in a way that demonstrates how partnering with you is no additional work for them and can actually take something off of their very full plate by having their kids or teens participate in a program that you already run. Make it easy for your partner organization by creating ready-made group kits. This can be one of your greatest selling points in that you already have everything planned out, and your partner organization can easily incorporate it into their established agenda. Both my library and the LAPL offer their off-site group coordinators packets that include instructions, reading trackers, stickers & incentives. I tailored mine to the specific group (i.e. if it was a summer school class vs. a comm. Group) and I even added thematic booklists and bookmarks. You can learn more about this at a session on Sunday called Reaching Out with your SRP: CLA’s Outreach & Outcome-based summer reading initiative at 3:45 PM. Finally, be persistent! I hate it when I send something to someone and never get a response or worse yet someone says no and rejects my brilliant idea! But being persistent does eventually pay off and the best example I have of that is the YMCA. I sent summer reading promo DVDs and flyers to the director of teen programming at the YMCA for 2 years in a row and never even got an acknowledgement that she received it. I was just about to give up on her when lo and behold this year she ed me saying she would like to participate and needed my help selecting books for a book club she was starting. So by lending my expertise to her, we were able to work together and enroll her teens in our summer reading program. 10

11 If You Go There…They Will Come
I was thinking about that old Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams and the whole “if you build it they will come” thing. Librarians are great at building wonderful collections, planning creative, fun programs, and building inviting spaces for kids and teens but still they don’t come! So my advice is “if you go there…they will come”. Go to where your target population is. I’m targeting the local skate park in my community this year. I get an e-news from the Rec department about their movie nights and special events & I really try to attend those as often as possible with posters & flyers in hand. I ask them to post my flyers and also make announcements about my upcoming teen programs before the start of their events. I also think it’s a great idea to put your flyers up at the local grocery store and even the mall if there’s a community bulletin board. If you go to where your target population is, and put your information right there in front of them, you’ll have a better chance of attracting them into the library. 11

12 Let Others Do the Work! Teen Outreach Team (TOT) or Street Crew
Every summer I work with a group of teens and the videography team from the city to create Promotional DVDs for our summer reading clubs. It’s a lot of work on my part initially, but then once I send them out to the schools and local community organizations, they do the work of playing it and getting the word out. Now, you don’t even have to create your own because you can use those created by winners of the CSLP and CLA contests You can also put your teens to work by creating a Teen Outreach Team (TOT) or Street Crew – if you have a “reliable” (as reliable as teenagers can be) group of regulars, bring them all together, make them some t-shirts, and empower them to be your street team by tasking them to get the word out about your programs and events. You could even put those leftover SR prizes and ARCs to good use and incentivize their success! 12

13 If You’re Really Ambitious…
Summer Reading Book Cart Drill Team Competitions Seattle Public Library (YouTube) Gillett Public Library Couldn’t you envision this spelling out SRC?! I think most of us are familiar with what a flash mob is but just in case – it’s a “group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, or artistic expression.” There’s a huge fountain outside of city hall where tons of teens congregate on Friday nights. I was thinking it would be so cool to get a bunch of library staff and teens together, choreograph a little number, and hit them with the details about summer reading. You could get inspiration from some of the book cart competitors who have made library parodies out of popular songs, or the few public libraries who have attempted such a thing, but really you could just use a regular song. It’s all about getting their attention and showing them that the library is COOL! 13

14 If you have any questions, please contact us!
Natalie Cole, California Library Association: Joanna Axelrod, Escondido Public Library: The California Summer Reading Program is a project of the California Library Association, supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

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