Kathy Dempsey, Editor of Marketing Library Services (an Information Today publication) said that libraries enter into partnerships for many reasons–money (not always), chance to educate people, or to get the word out that they’re no longer about just books. Here are some potential library partnerships:
- Boy & Girl Scouts (they can get badges for working for libraries)
- Professors who have students available for internships
- Graphic designers that may do work at a lower cost for non-profits
- CreateAThon–an organization of designers that provide free services to nonprofits on 1 day each yea
- Join speaker bureaus and local Chamber of Commerce and offer to be a speaker to meet people, other community service clubs (Kiwanis, Lions, etc.)
- Grocery stores (a small chain of privately owned stores partnered with a library to hold their kids’ story times in the store cafe. The store even provided snacks themed to the story that the librarian was reading.)
- Large organizations like ALA and SLA
- Nearby shopping malls (some have empty stores they will let a library use for book sales)
- Groups with similar missions (historical societies, genealogical societies, etc.)
- Restaurants that have “dine and donate” nights
- Museums (one library produced bookmarks related to the exhibits)
- Realtors or Welcome Wagon for people moving into the area (many people want to know not only how good the schools are but how good the library is)
- Local politicians
- Signs to display in businesses during National Library Week.
Dean Frey, Director of the Red Deer, Alberta Public Library, described how the library engaged the community by sponsoring an Election Forum. The project started in 2004 and continued in 2007 and 2010. Dean managed it and posted all the content: information on potential candidates, put their brochures, answers to questions, and connections to media stories about the election.
In 2007, he used Drupal 5, and hired a library assistant to manage the site. It was more interactive and had candidate blogs with comments. The library provided training for candidates or their staff. Got 100% participation of pages for each candidate because the candidates realized that the site was crucial to their campaigns. The site even became a campaign issue when one campaign accused another of tampering with his blog.
For the 2010 campaign, Drupal 6 was available. A staff member was hired to manage the site, which had candidate blogs and comments, forums for both candidates and the public, integration of social media, and more offline activity. It hosted Election Central with live video streaming, candidate pages, ad made heavy use of social media. The site had Facebook and Twitter feeds. One candidate didn’t put up any signs, but relied on social media only (he won). The forums were very active. The site was fully moderated, and guidelines for posting were put on it. Questionnaires were given to all candidates, which almost all of them answered. The site connected to other public forums. Each library branch had a table for candidates to put out brochures.
On election nite, they hosted Election Central, hosted live streaming of results. In the sincerest form of flattery, another town copied them.
Election Central has had over 5,000 unique visitors (1/3 of the voters), over 10,000 visits which peaked at 1692 on election day, nearly 100,000 page views, 9 views/visit, 8.5 minutes per visit, 95 Tweets, and 99 Followers. The 3rd highest number of visits came from public schools, which were probablykids were learning about government. Visits came from around the world, probably from people with relatives in other places, etc. There were many more visits in 2010 than 2007.
Here are the lessons they learned, the benefits of the system, and their accomplishments.
The system was highly successful and appreciated by the community. Frey said that one of the major benefits was how good it felt to be standing in front of the Township Committee at budget time and find that everyone was smiling at you!