Yesterday I had the privilege of volunteering for the Pima County Public Library (PCPL) table at the Pima County Fair. Along with my colleague Freddy and PCPL’s organizer Liz, we staffed the table for four hours. As well as being a great chance to mingle with community members and find out their perceptions of their local library, it was an opportunity for me to learn more about what the public library offers. Not only do they have downloadable audiobooks, which I’ve known for awhile, they also now have streaming video available! Very cool.
Highlights included helping passersby sign up for library cards, offering to mail them a card for free if they like. Then having the kids spin the Library Wheel & answer a question about the library to get a prize. This game gave children and parents alike information on library cards, the library’s website, what’s held in the collection, the Teen Zone, and more. As well as stickers and magnets, prizes included funky bookmarks with the library’s name and website printed at the bottom. These were the most popular of the giveaways.
This was a great illustration of how to make the library visible. This has been an ongoing theme in the Marketing course I’m taking right now at SIRLS. Having this sort of presence at the county fair will encourage current library users and expose library services to otherwise non-users. It will tell us what the community thinks about us, and can be a good way to gather customer feedback while also demonstrating that the library is a fun place. It gives the library presence and personality.
One last note: possibly my favorite moment was when a woman stopped by and said to us, “The library is what holds the world together. It’s education.” Brilliant and true.