Small libraries can do BIG things!

Twitter Chat with Chris Brown, Director, Williamsport-Washington Township PL

  1. Welcome to our Twitter Chat. We are talking about small libraries doing big things today! #mclschat
  2. Welcome to our guest @CaptainchrisD from the Williamsport, IN Public Library! #mclschat
  3. Welcome to everyone else. Tell us who you are and where you are tweeting from! #mclschat
  4. MeL here in Lansing at Library of Michigan - hi all! #mclschat
  5. We'll be asking @CaptainchrisD questions, but jump in anytime with your own thoughts or questions. #mclschat
  6. Q1. Tell us a little about your library. How small are you? #mclschat
  7. @mclsorg Budget of 202,000, staff size of 6, population served 2,280; #mclschat
  8. @mclsorg A1. there are no stop lights in the county, 1 high school and three elementary. #mclschat
  9. a1 three very small libraries serving approx 1500 people, 3 FT staff members #mclschat
  10. @mclsorg A1. We do have four contracts with other townships which take us to around 3,600 patrons. #mclschat
  11. Q2. What are some of the challenges that small libraries face? #mclschat
  12. @mclsorg A2. affects programs and materials same goes for limited staffing. #mclschat
  13. A2 staff spread very thin, limited budget #mclschat
  14. @mclsorg A2. It’s often hard to get out of the library to do programs or outreach, even attending prof dev sessions. #mclschat
  15. (That's one reason I like these twitter chats so much!) #mclschat
  16. @mclsorg A2. We often relay on our friends group, local community foundation, where we have two trusts that we receive dividends. #mclschat
  17. Q3. How can libraries with small budgets offer programs that people will attend? #mclschat
  18. A2. Each spring we send out a letter asking for donations to cover our programs.we garner anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 annual. #mclschat
  19. A2. The letter outlines our past programs and tells the agency what we are planning for the coming season. #mclschat
  20. Who do you send those letters to? Local businesses? Individuals? #mclschat
  21. @AnnaZichiCurtis To all. even civic orgs. churchs, private indv, anyone whose donated in the past. #mclschat
  22. My Library hasn't asked for donations before... Where do you start? #mclschat
  23. ask other orgs for their mailing list, some may turn you down, but some want. join other groups and they will share #mclschat
  24. Keep a list of who donates books to book sale they may want to support in other ways #mclschat
  25. @mclsorg A3. I have tried many different approaches to getting people in the library. Some will flop, while others flourish. #mclschat
  26. A2: visit local businesses/groups in person so they can make the personal connection. #mclschat
  27. @mclsorg A3. Author talks and book signings do not go over well. #mclschat
  28. @mclsorg A3. Programs that offer life enrichment do the best. Or programs were celebratory such as parties where food is involved #mclschat
  29. @mclsorg A3. Our Holiday Open house we will see over 500 people in one evening. #mclschat
  30. @mclsorg A3. We decorate with 30 themed trees, cookies, food, live entertainment, Santa, kids progs, children get a free book. #mclschat
  31. A3: tap into local interests & talent. provide a platform for them to share their skills, knowledge. #mclschat
  32. @AnnaZichiCurtis We have a local weekly newspaper, which is often ineffective promoting our programs; #mclschat
  33. @AnnaZichiCurtis We rely on signs at the local store, laundromat, gas stations and such. #mclschat
  34. @AnnaZichiCurtis But the most effective means is social media. Our facebook page gets more traffic than our webpage. #mclschat
  35. Q4. What alternate sources of funding do you have? #mclschat
  36. @mclsorg A4. Grants are nice when available but they are often hit or miss. #mclschat
  37. @mclsorg A4. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, they can’t so no if you don’t ask and sometimes they say yes. #mclschat
  38. A4 we apply for lots of grants (and are awarded some) #mclschat
  39. @mclsorg A4. Having a good rapport with your community is the smart venture. #mclschat
  40. @mclsorg A4. If I need funds or help with programs I go to our comm agencies, companies and social orgs, they rarely say no. #mclschat
  41. look outside traditional library grant sources. Many companies have community engagement/support funds that go unspent. #mclschat
  42. @mclsorg A4. Never turn down and opportunity to speak to a group about your library or to develop a program for their event. #mclschat
  43. @meldotorg Yes they do our local nursing is great for that! also the hospital #mclschat
  44. Q5. Who are your partners and how do they help? #mclschat
  45. @mclsorg A5. One of best partners is the Warren Co. Parks Program. #mclschat
  46. @mclsorg A5. We partner for the summer reading program by incorporating reading and sharing of resources and programs. #mclschat
  47. @mclsorg A5.We are able to do twice as much with a guarantee of over 100 kids. #mclschat
  48. @mclsorg A5. Others are local social orgs, hospital, schools, and our learning center. We are always looking for new associations. #mclschat
  49. Q6. What about libraries that are limited by their space/size? #mclschat
  50. A5: a natural partner are local schools, parent associations, #mclschat
  51. A5 we try to partner with other departments (our libraries are part of a larger organization) for programming -mutually beneficial #mclschat
  52. @mclsorg A6. don’t have space at the library take the library to them. #mclschat
  53. A6 we are definitely limited in one of our 3 locations - you make do and make it work #mclschat
  54. @anneheathen Other libraries and our state lib are always good partners and resource sharing ops #mclschat
  55. @CaptainchrisD indeed, we also partner with several local and nearby library systems for our automation system and other things #MCLSchat
  56. @mclsorg A6.we have an Amphitheater that was built with a grant. We host summer concerts, family movie night, magic, puppet shows #mclschat
  57. A6: what about "virtual" programs? offer short webinars, create & post short videos on youtube, do a twitter chat! :) #mclschat
  58. Q7. What are some advantages that small libraries might have? #mclschat
  59. @mclsorg A7. We know our community, their needs, their likes; #mclschat
  60. @mclsorg A6. Over 200 people can attend our amphitheater programs. #mclschat
  61. @mclsorg A7. We have a connection unlike a large library or community. If I need something the community will respond in kind. #mclschat
  62. @mclsorg A7. I am a good neighbor and it’s hard to turn you down when you’re a friend. #mclschat
  63. A7 it's easier to get to know your patrons than in a larger system - making personal connections is very valuable #mclschat
  64. Q8. How can a small staff keep up with professional development? #mclschat
  65. @mclsorg A8. This one is tricky, as I stated it is so difficult to attend sessions when staff is limited. #mclschat
  66. @mclsorg A8. Webinars a great! And programs and lectures through itunes and youtube help. #mclschat
  67. @mclsorg A8. We do use and train volunteers and our friends group to help fill-in. #mclschat
  68. @mclsorg A8. Sometimes when we can only send one person, we have a staff meeting and that person will share what they learned. #mclschat
  69. A8: use a news aggregator like Flipboard to follow topics & stay informed. loaded on work iPad - books, library cool, literacy, #mclschat
  70. Q10. What are the three most important things that a small library can do #mclschat
  71. @mclsorg A10. 1. Be a com member, participate in other orgs functions, serve on boards, committees, and be visible in your area. #mclschat
  72. @mclsorg Be Relevant! Go to schools, nursing homes, Rotary, Lions Club #mclschat
  73. @mclsorg A10. 3. Don’t sell yourself short (small building doesn’t mean small thinking) #mclschat
  74. @mclsorg A10. 2. never turn down an opp to speak or do a program, especially outside of the library. #mclschat
  75. @mclsorg A10. See what other libraries are doing even large ones, you can probably modify the program to fit your community. #mclschat
  76. @mclsorg A10. Don’t be afraid to fail, even those attempts you can learn from. #mclschat
  77. Q10 look for partners and opportunities to cooperate - you don't have to do everything yourself (even tho it feels like it) #mclschat
  78. How do you find volunteers? What sorts of things do they do? #mclschat
  79. They work the desk, shelve books, help with cleaning, landscaping (Master gardener) #mclschat
  80. What is the greatest show of community support you have had? #mclschat
  81. @mclsorg 10 years this month our library burned. we lost everything. I was devastated. our library was only 4 years old. #mclschat
  82. @mclsorg The community come out in waves, from all over the state , nation, even the world. #mclschat
  83. @mclsorg cards, letters, donations, books, supplies. we were over whelmed at first. but it showed us how much we were appreciated #mclschat
  84. @meldotorg It just proves that there are so many good people in the world #mclschat
  85. @mclsorg even through it all we have come back better than ever and feel that we are the library the world rebuilt. #mclschat
  86. sm.rural libr. built a new bldg 2 blocks from old. Community created a human relay brigade to move all the bks to the new site. #mclschat
  87. I increased our program participants by over 400% last year #mclschat
  88. @mclsorg @CaptainchrisD Thanks for the opp. its been fun, if anyone wants to contact me email: #mclschat
  89. Next month's 3rd Thursday Twitter Chat will be on team building with Beka Lemmons of the Huntington (IN) Public Library as guest! #mclschat
  90. As always, a great way to spend an hour "chatting" with fellow librarians & making new friends. Thanks! #mclschat
  91. Thank you @CaptainchrisD for sharing your advice about your GREAT small library! #mclschat