CHICAGO — Public libraries’ mission, skills, and position in their communities make them ideal facilitators of public access to local resources. In other words, the collection is all around, and libraries can help citizens discover historical, cultural, and natural riches that they might otherwise overlook. Providing smart planning and implementation advice, “The Collection All Around: Sharing Our Cities, Towns, and Natural Places,” published by ALA Editions, shows public libraries how to make the most of these outreach opportunities. Using ideas drawn from libraries from around the country, author Jeffrey T. Davis covers:
- why this type of initiative is important, demonstrating how this model strengthens libraries with regard to community and institutional support;
- programs for brokering public access to cultural venues via ticketing platforms;
- using library event calendars to feature the programs and meetings of other city agencies, community organizations, and affiliated institutions;
- the joint use of library cards as IDs, for banking, and as parking/transit passes;
- ways that libraries can act as guides to local resources, including such examples of “pathfinding” as historical/cultural walking tours, navigating social services, and providing guidance on government benefits and civic involvement;
- parklets, crosswalk murals, food truck roundups, and other programs for extending the public library beyond its walls;
- initiatives for improving access and connections to natural surroundings such as nature-play environments, offsite StoryWalks, nature maps, and circulating outdoor gear and state parks passes; and
- talking points for new and existing partner buy-in, planning advice for getting started and managing the launch, budgeting guidance, technology considerations, and other helpful tips.
Davis is a branch manager with the San Diego Public Library. He has worked in branch and central libraries from the South Bronx (New York City) to downtown San Diego. His previous experience includes collection development and electronic resources management.
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