Category Archives: Communication

Getting the Word Out to the Community

In an article titled 13 questions with a Library Branch Manager, Jason Kuhl, the branch manager of the Cliff Cave Library in St. Louis County, talks about one of the most challenging things he does in his job:

Right now, I think the most challenging thing is simply getting the word out to the community about all of the services the library provides. People tend to think of the library as a stuffy place to check out books, but we are really so much more than that. You can come to the library to check out DVDs and video games for free, instead of having to pay for them. We provide free access to the Internet. We have a computer lab where we teach classes on computer use. We offer a tremendous number of entertaining and educational programs for all ages-from current events discussion groups and film discussions for adults to monthly after-hours programs for teens to an art club for kids to weekly story times for preschoolers. We even have programs specifically for homeschoolers and a group that gets together to play bridge twice a month. We really do have something for everyone and we really do need to get the word out to the community about all of these things.

Full article text.

Office Hours as a Tool to Increase Availability

Lately I've been talking to a lot of staff about various library issues, but especially communications, and I've come to the conclusion that many/most people simply don't want to email or blog or IM in order to communicate — they want to talk. But they don't talk because they're afraid to "bother" me. I repeatedly hear things like, "I didn't want to interrupt your work", or, "I know you're so busy with IT stuff so I didn't call/stop by".

I've been trying to come up with another way to foster this important communication and I've been thinking about how we used to handle it in academia — office hours. So, I'm wondering if any of you out there have tried setting up regular weekly office hours in an effort to improve your approachability and accessibility? Do you just toss open the door or do you ask people to schedule time so you can dedicate a block of minutes to each person?

When I return from CIL2008 I think I'll give this idea a try and see what happens.