Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hurdles

In my efforts to do outreach to the local business community, it has become apparent that a significant number of the obstacles to overcome lie within the library itself. Here is a running list, in no particular order, of the things you might want to have hammered out before embarking on an outreach campaign:
  • Solidify with your manager the process for attending local business functions. What paperwork is needed? If there is a cost, how do you get reimbursed? Who gets the paperwork? What forms do you need to file? If it will be an ongoing, recurring event does that change the process? What is the easiest, least time consuming process for all involved? If the reference desk schedule needs to change, how far in advance do you need to alert your manager and/or coworkers? Who do you report your successes to? When? How?
  • If you are out in the community, that is the perfect time to sign people up for library cards as they don't have to carve time out of their day to come into a branch to register for a card. To make this fly you may need to talk with the head of the circulation department (or whoever is in charge of issuing cards) and figure out what information is needed. The agreement that we settled on here at Spokane Public was to jot the card number down on the card application and issue the card on the spot. When I get back to the library I hand over the applications to the good folks in the circulation dept. where they enter the data and make the card active. The safety valve is that these cards are valid for Internet use only (to give remote access to our databases) until we see positive ID in person at one of our branches. This is to make sure that I don't unwittingly issue a full-access card to someone who has thousands and thousands of dollars in fines on another card. It seems to work pretty well...
  • If you are doing a presentation and need library equipment like a laptop and/or projector, make sure that you have the equipment reserved. There's nothing worse than getting ready for a big show only to find that the hardware you need has been shipped off to another branch... not that that has ever happened to me.

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