*Some images can not be displayed due to file error.
Lines and Cycles : The way we do things in the Library
Aside from the image and identity we carry as we do the roles expected of us, the way we do things in the library is a factor that can make or break a living library.
The pattern in which the services we do and offer can be linear or cyclical.
Sugar! Spice! And Everything Nice!
Now that we have identified the patterns of library service and factors influencing its operations, we take a closer look at making the library a reader friendly venue, one that is truly alive.
Physical Arrangement/ Location and Design/Operating Hours
Let’s begin with the external appearance of the library. As much as possible, provision for all kinds of reading purposes must be present- from serious reading to light and leisurely reading; to big classes and small group discussions; Internet labs; viewing and listening rooms. Bulletin board displays must be strategically located for all to see; posters at corner walls and corridors enliven bare areas. Such visual stimulus inspires and motivates users to think, even wonder. Shelves for display and racks for magazines and newspapers make for an enticing reading invitation.
Location of the library is important too. Its physical accessibility is one factor for readers to go and flock there. The ideal place is its central location to everything and everyone in the community.
Operating hours must agree with the official time of the clients. If it necessitates extension of operating hours, work out a schedule that will benefit everyone including the staff of the library.
The collection of the library must reflect the course offerings or the content set upon by the mother organization. Standards on collection development must be followed as well as guidelines set upon by accrediting institutions for which the mother organization is affiliated. Aside from these, the collection of the library must answer the reading needs and levels of the community it serves.
A reader friendly library is best known for the programs and activities it can offer the client. Here are some examples of library programs and activities that foster literacy development:
a. Library Promotions Program – Storytelling; Read aloud, puppet shows, book talks, book mobile; film viewing; websites; newsletters
b. Author/Illustrator Visit Program
c. Information Literacy Skills Program
d. Teacher Training Program (Use of technology in instruction; library orientation for new teachers; hands-on training)
e. AV-Instructional Media Program
The PR & Marketing Plan
In cases when library services and programs need pushing and lobbying to administrators, teachers and parents, and other stakeholders in the organization, a PR and Marketing Plan can be drawn together for a strategic approach to implementing them.
Amelia Kassel recommends these seven steps:
1. Prepare a mission statement.
2. List and describe target or niche markets.
3. Describe your services.
4. Spell out marketing and promotional strategies.
5. Identify and understand the competition.
6. Establish marketing goals that are quantifiable.
7. Monitor your results carefully.
Keep it real to keep it going
In the course of bringing excitement and verve to the library, you will come to a point of exhaustion, stress and burn out. When these set in, be kind to yourself and take a break. Sit back and detach yourself for a while. Take a break and recoup your energies. Managing a library is indeed no easy task. There may be technology and human resource to help us and assist us in making our library a reader friendly library, but they too conk out and get tired.
Look for outside support that will keep you and your programs going. You will be surprised how many individuals and institutions are willing enough to help you.
To generalize, a reader friendly library is a library that is alive and thriving in all aspects of services and programs. The success of planning and implementing these operations and plans rest on the librarians perception and philosophy of his profession as well as, a clear identification of his role to the community he serves.
The things we learned in library school are a means to an end. It is not the end itself. It’s about time we stretch our horizons and extend our borders for after all, librarians exist because we are needed to help our clients make meaning of these new horizons and construct new knowledge that push them to broadening borderlines.