02 May 2006

Which strategies do you use to build positive partnerships and foster lifelong learning in public libraries?

Quote of the week - “It was from my own early experience that I decided there was no use to which money could be applied so productive of good to boys and girls who have good within them and ability and ambition to develop it as the founding of a public library” Andrew Carnegie quotes (Scottish born American Industrialist and Philanthropist. 1835-1919)

Which strategies do you use to build positive partnerships and foster lifelong learning in public libraries?
*Are you and your staff current and ‘with it’ with regards client groups needs and interests
*Survey your clients - Are your clients getting what they want?
*Evaluate your programs/services – Are your programs achieving their aims?
*Are you subscribed to publishers web alerts to facilitate collection development?
*What's happening in the field? Read the literature - subscribe to online journals, database TOC alerts, or search alerts for topics of interest
* Another strategy is to use articles read from TOC alerts to learn the ‘language’ of partner groups
* Gain an understanding of community groups and objectives
* Keep up-to-date with technology
* Find out what others are doing – Subscribe to relevant Internet discussion groups
and Attend Conferences
* Visit library websites
* Let your council ‘hear’ you and ‘see’ you; prove your worth
* Get involved with Library organisations and support groups
* Tell everyone and anyone about libraries


TECHNOLOGY TRAINING
1. Basic computer skills training aimed not just at one age group, but open to all library users, so that we get the ‘social mix’ happening. {of course the more computers, the more successful this would be, this is where building a closer partnership with the FOL and grant applications activity would be important}
2. Computer basics - Need to know how to ‘operate’ a computer first, before using Internet and email.

SPECIAL COLLECTIONS – How do you turn an underutilised collection into a ‘happening’ collection?
1. Run a poster competition (or other competition) for target age group. Choose a related theme and perhaps the winner(s) paint the theme, or they are mentored by a well-known or budding local artist.
2. Some libraries have raised funds with FOL groups running an exhibition, such as art exhibitions with a ‘prize’ for the entry judged ‘the best new art” or other relevant award aimed at the different age groups.
3. Ensure that the ‘collection availability” i.e the days & times advertised on the Internet, printed brochures and the collection signage are aligned.

FUTURE POSSIBILITIES: [Build on the ideas raised by baby boomers and gatekeepers (visionary leaders) February, 2006 issue of The Australian Library Journal article; ‘Wanting it now: baby boomers and the public library of the future’]

ENHANCE THE SOCIAL ASPECT OF LIBRARIES
1. Consider a grant to build a Café or Bookshop or training area or combination of these in unused or underutilised space with the public entrance from within the main library so patrons come into the library building. For example, is there an area external to the building which is ‘drab’ and not used and wouldn’t involve too much cost to remove, perhaps it can be recycled and funds raised contribute towards refurbishment plans.
2. Discussion groups – Which groups currently get together to discuss what they are reading? Which groups would enjoy personal face-to-face discussions, Which groups would engage with electronic discussion boards, or a blog of relevance.

ENHANCE THE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

* Writing – retirees have time to now write the book they always wanted to write but need help. Also fits other user groups; mums who’d like to write kids books, etc. Ensure these happen regularly.
* Publishing – we have the knowledge to teach the community about the Publishing cycle and Internet searching tips to find out requirements of publishers with regards ‘manuscripts’ or ‘draft copies’ for publication opportunities
* Training & Database sessions – laptops & projectors which could circulate in branches (depending on funding availability) so that ‘group’ training could happen more readily and successfully, build on the ‘learning’ aspect of libraries.
*Keep relevant for Teenagers (the Friends Of Libraries of the future)- Sound walls (listening posts), playstations, Youth Blog, Sports equipment, Games afternoon (traditional variety, charades, hangman)
* Possibility of self-paced online learning programs similar to LearningFast http://www.library.act.gov.au/learn/learningfast

ANTICIPATING LONG-RANGE COLLECTION REQUIREMENTS

* Do we hold books and magazines which support those topics unique to retirees including; investments, shares and the stock market, travel, gardening, health, fitness, technology, personal computing, keeping up-to-date with computer hardware/software; Brainstorm with branch staff more topic areas. Subscribe to relevant ‘publishers’ alerts which cater for local community specific needs (perhaps identified in a survey) and forward to Collection Development Librarian as recommendations.

FUNDING

* Do you have the council committee on side? Do they understand the importance and relevance of the library to the community?
* FOL – Do the friends of the library have a website? Another promotion vehicle to target web users.
* Partner with other community organisations to build on the existing promotion and financial support of council’s libraries.

WHAT ARE OTHER PUBLIC LIBRARIES DOING?
* Also try to ‘visit’ virtually, or (in-person) other public libraries and have a look at what they are doing? I used this strategy in the Uni environment too. Perhaps a team member or branch trainee could do an Internet bibliography of sorts which details what other libraries are doing in a particular area. e.g youth blogs in city libraries, or discussion groups used in State Libraries of Australia, etc.
* Discussion lists are a great source of ‘collective wisdom’. Ask a question on some lists, and you receive a myriad of useful, creative, successfully tried ideas.

WHICH LIBRARY ORGANISATIONS SUPPORT YOU?
Local and National

* Local and National Friends of Libraries Organisations –
Friends of Libraries Australia http://www.fola.org.au/
* Public Libraries Australia http://www.nla.gov.au/apln/membership.html
* Queensland Public Libraries Association (QPLA) http://www.connectqld.org.au/asp/index.asp?pgid=14709
* Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) - http://www.alia.org.au/
* Your State Library

International Associations
* Chartered Institute of Library and Information professionals (CILIP) http://www.cilip.org.uk/default.cilip
* American Library Association (ALA) http://www.ala.org/
* ANZIIL – Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy http://www.anziil.org/
* The Library & Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa: -http://www.lianza.org.nz/

WHICH CONFERENCES DO YOU ATTEND?
* Alia Biennial - http://conferences.alia.org.au/alia2006/
* Queensland Public Libraries Association / State Library Queensland -http://www.cairnslibrary.com.au/QPLASLQ.htm
* New Librarians Symposium - http://conferences.alia.org.au/newlibrarian2004/presymppapers.html
* Lifelong Learning Conference CQU - http://lifelonglearning.cqu.edu.au/2006/index.htm
* Computers in Libraries - http://www.infotoday.com/cil.htm
* Internet Librarian International -
http://www.internet-librarian.com/previous/index.html
* VALA Biennial - http://www.vala.org.au/previous.htm
* LIANZA - http://www.lianza.org.nz/events/conference2006/
* Information Online - http://www.information-online.com.au/
* IFLANET - http://www.ifla.org/IV/ifla73/index.htm
* More - http://www.fiu.edu/~hastyd/lcp.html

Would anyone like to comment and add strategies which you have used and developed?

Article References
'Wanting it now': baby boomers and the public library of the future. Australian Library Journal, Feb2006, Vol. 55 Issue 1, p54-72, 19p;

DEVELOPING SOCIAL CAPITAL: AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND FRIENDS OF LIBRARIES. By: Ferguson, Daniel. APLIS, Mar2006, Vol. 19 Issue 1, p26-30, 5p;

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