Thursday, April 17, 2014

Barriers to Doing Outreach

In our discussions of doing outreach visits to daycares, the class shared some of the things that make it difficult for these visits to happen.

Work Assigned to Others - large libraries often have outreach librarians whose responsibility covers outreach from adults to children. Sometimes, daycares prefer to have a children's librarian visit but that isn't possible with the staffing responsibilities.

No Nearby DaycaresAt this point in time, we are not doing any type of outreach for daycare children and parents.  The closest day care center closed several years ago and the remaining day care center is just outside of the village.  We did advertise our new “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” program through the day care center last fall by dropping off individual letters to the parents of the children who attend.  

UncomfortableI personally don't like doing outreach. I get really uncomfortable when I don't have control over my environment (I'm a control freak and I know it! Medication helps, but you know...) so I'm in charge of all the in-house visits, and my supervisor does all outreach because she LOVES it. She likes to do storytimes for daycares who invite gives her a break from booktalks, which she loves, but it's always fun to do a great read-aloud.

ReciprocityWe used to go to all of the Headstart locations (and there's a bunch, plus the main building that has 7 classes in it), however, these children would never be brought to the library.  Twice a year we had programs with them, once on their site, and once here. About five years or so ago, we changed this and they now visit us for programs twice a year.  The teachers love it.  It wasn't that we didn't want to go to the sites, but we felt it was more beneficial for them to come here.

Haphazard Outreach - Each year we'd try something different, preschools in the August, preschools in May, Boys & Girls Club occasionally, brainstorming on who else to contact, should we partner with a school, should we visit back-to-school nights? Essentially, we had no plan and no consistency. This meant that outreach dropped further and further down the priority list. It was easy to argue that we have strong community support, offer lots of different programs at different times and on different days, and it's always hard to cover the desk with someone out of the library. 

Time -  We don't do any outreach, in my dreams I have thought about it often but in reality I just don't have the time.  We mainly just have home daycares in our town and I know that they can't come here because of the transportation issue.  I would love to be able to go to them but it's just not feasible. 

Territory My community is very small, and doesn't have any day cares or head start programs.  I've thought about going to the neighboring communities , but they have local libraries and I don't want to step on anyone's toes.  

1 comment:

  1. The comment on being uncomfortable is interesting as it's the opposite for me. I sometimes feel a little worried if teachers are liking my programs or not, but mostly outreach is really relaxing for me because it's such a controlled environment. I don't have to worry about marketing, will people come or not, will I offend a parent, will the program work, etc. It's scheduled, I know exactly what I'm doing, the kids are always glad to see me, and the teachers love a little break in their day.