Dawn Bussey, the director of the Glen Ellyn Public Library originally published this piece in the January/February 2009 issue of Public Libraries. We’re reprinting it here in two parts, with her permission.
Giving presentations regarding library materials, programs, and services to any group or service organization that will listen is yet another way we have been spreading the word.
We actively approach these groups and request a time and date tot tell them about the great things that are happening at the library. Currently we have two different PowerPoint presentations with handouts: one for a general overview of the library and one that goes into detail about senior-friendly services and formats. Both presentations cover the computerized catalog, online holds and renewals, the Statewide Illinois Library Catalog, WorldCat, and interlibrary loan. Then we discuss the services and resources that are available online 24/7, including remote wireless printing.
Next we touch on programs of interest to the group to whom we are speaking followed by new things that are coming soon. Then we end the presentation with the variety of ways that individuals can get involved at the library such as volunteering, joining the Friends group, or joining the foundation. Finally, we answer questions for the group.
At this point, these presentations are given by the adult outreach librarian, the school outreach associate, the marketing associate, and the library director.
We know the combination of the outings and the presentations are really working to raise the level of awareness of library materials, programs, and services with both users and nonusers. We saw the largest number of individuals registered for the summer reading at the youth, teen and adult levels this past year in our recorded history of summer reading statistics. More than once we have finished giving a presentation and had someone in the audience say, “My family has used the library for years and I thought I knew everything there was to know about it, but I just learned so many new things!”
It is said that the average person must read, see, and hear the same information over and over several times before it is retained. Therefore, we will continue to present and participate in local fairs and festivals in order to spread the word about the wonderful materials, programs, and services we have to offer.