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WORKING WITH PATRONS PRESENTATION SOCIETY OF INDIANA ARCHIVISTS FALL WORKSHOP ALISON STANKRAUFF OCTOBER 7, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "WORKING WITH PATRONS PRESENTATION SOCIETY OF INDIANA ARCHIVISTS FALL WORKSHOP ALISON STANKRAUFF OCTOBER 7, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 WORKING WITH PATRONS PRESENTATION SOCIETY OF INDIANA ARCHIVISTS FALL WORKSHOP ALISON STANKRAUFF OCTOBER 7, 2011

2 Understanding Your Patrons Means Understanding Your Institution, Its Constituent Bodies/Customers.  Connect to the mission of your institution.  Meet with and get familiar with the ‘head honchos’ of your institution – your administrators, directors, deans, etc.  Get familiar and friendly with your customers – all your customers. If you have frequent patrons, consider meeting them outside the archives for coffee, etc.

3 Understanding Your Surrounding Community.  This means understanding how your institution fits into the community. - And if it does not mesh, that’s an opportunity to find ways to reach out to the community at large and let them know about the archives!  Connect the mission of your institution with the mission of the archives – and just how these might be important to – and of interest to – the community.  This is, again, a potential outreach opportunity.

4 Understanding Your Virtual Community.  How do people reach you virtually?  Are there ways that you can enhance and grow this access and connection?  Consider social media, blogs.

5 Figure Out Who You’re NOT Serving – But SHOULD Be – and Reach Out to Them.  This may be underrepresented segments of your community or your user-base.  This is an opportunity to create interest – and allies – for the archives!

6 Reaching out– the Importance of Meeting Your Patrons Where They Are, When They’re There.  Doing a general demographic survey  Assessing new user expectations and impediments to use  Assessing users’ Information Seeking Behavior  Use of finding aids  Faculty educational goals and methods  Efficacy of archival literacy sessions  Metadata and presentation standards for digital collections.

7 The Reference Interview – and how it may differ from that in a Library setting.  Much of the reference interview per se is the same from an archival to a library setting.  But one way that it differs is that you as the archivist can really engage your patron(s) in a detailed conversation about the collection – and look over the finding aid with the researcher.  In asking them what they need/want to get at, ascertain if the finding aid answers their needs. If not, there may be related collections that may complement/supplement your patron’s information needs.

8 Develop the Best Methods to Reach Out to Your Patrons and Make Pleasant and Comfortable Research Experiences for Them.  If your patrons don’t understand the finding aid, this is an opportunity to make a deeper connection – and understand how they seek out information – and try to reach them at that point.  Something to consider is to offer access to unprocessed material. I do this pretty regularly in my shop. This is a great opportunity, too, to learn more about the collection from the user’s point of view – and thus structure the finding aid or inventory accordingly.

9 How Key it is That We Stay On Top of – and Using Outreach and Research Methods.  Very key!  Understanding fully who our core customer base is already is important.  Understanding who is not part of that base – but should be – is just as important.  You can accordingly develop outreach to those already well-served and those not yet served – using traditional methods as well as reaching out in new ways.

10 Our Patrons Can Become Allies in Many Respects – Including Advocacy for Funding – on Local, State, National Levels.  If we’re reaching people with their needs met – they will be grateful, and want this access to continue. Often their testimony/letters/ s/telephone calls to decision makers are the strongest when funding matters come up, etc.

11 Staying Current With Those Populations via Survey Methods – and then REALLY Implementing the Results.  This may entail doing things like: - Restructuring how we present our finding aids - Bending some policies (at times!) to meet users’ convenience levels - Changing hours for best and most convenient access.


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