Successful Community Outreach: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians

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  • About the Authors
  • Reviews

Libraries that thrive reach out to all parts of their communities. Stellar community outreach plans help libraries build the strong partnerships that undergird these critical ties. Most librarians know they must reach out to the community to be successful, but many do not always know the best way to make that happen.

Here's a practical manual designed specifically to help librarians conceptualize and then implement an outreach program that will achieve good results. Through examples of library roles within community outreach, outreach needs assessment, and great tips on implementing your plan, the authors give you the clear cut advice you need to build the perfect outreach plan. Barbara Blake, Robert Martin, and Yunfei Du have years of experience working with libraries to build community outreach programs.

Here’s what you get:

Part One shows you sample vision and mission statements, lists realistic goals to target in your community, and demographic factors to consider.

Part Two highlights potential programs and partners, and gives you advice on how to “pitch” your plan for optimal community support.

Part Three teaches you how to develop and implement the outreach plan.

Written for all public librarians, the concise, step-by-step process delivers the information you want in the format that you need it. A bibliography of public library resources make finding further information a snap; and worksheets on the companion CD-ROM make your job easier by providing ready-to-go outreach plans for writing and implementing your own plan. With this book, your library will go from being seen as a nicety to a necessity.

List of Worksheets
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Describing the Library and Community
Library's Focus
Community Profile 
Library Profile
Chapter 3. Outreach Needs and Assets Assessment
Needs and Assets Assessment 
Potential Programs 
Potential Partners 
Community-Centered Library 
Making the Pitch 
Chapter 4. Outreach Plan 
Community Profile Narrative 
Library Profile Narrative 
Vision, Mission, Goals, and Objectives 
Outreach Programs 
Detailed Action Plan
Appendix (Optional)
Appendix 1. Sources of Community and Library Data 
Appendix 2. Examples of Community Outreach Plans 
About the Authors

Barbara Blake

Barbara Blake has a long and varied career in the field of libraries and museums. She served as a public library director for 11 years; was administrator of a contemporary art museum; worked for the National Library of Medicine's South Central Regional Library Program where she coordinated the resource sharing activities of over 200 medical and hospital libraries in a 5-state region; worked for a regional library system providing consulting and continuing education for over 30 libraries; was a marketing representative for automated collection analysis with Amigos Bibliographic, Inc.; and was the project manager for the construction of a 15,680-square-foot library facility. She currently serves as Outreach Coordinator for the PEARL project at the University of North Texas. Among her extensive list of publications are A Guide to Children's Books about Asian Americans (England: Ashgate Publishing Co., 1995); Bridging Cultures (New York: Neal-Schuman, 1994 [with Tom Kruger]); Creating Newsletters, Brochures, and Pamphlets (New York: Neal-Schuman, 19A92 [with Barbara L. Stein]), and "Cultural Diversity Resources" (Chapter 13), in Children's Media Market Place, 4th ed. (New York: Neal-Schuman, 1995).

Robert S. Martin

Robert S. Martin is Professor Emeritus in the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Woman's University, where he was Professor of Library Science and Lillian Bradshaw Endowed Chair until his retirement in 2008. Previously he served as Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Director and Librarian of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. He currently serves on the National Council on the Humanities and the Executive Board of the Urban Libraries Council. He has authored or edited numerous books and journal articles on library management, the history of libraries and librarianship, and the history of the exploration and mapping of the American West. His work has been recognized with numerous honors and awards, including Distinguished Service Awards from both the Texas Library Association and the Society of Southwest Archivists and the Justin Winsor Prize from the American Library Association. He is a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists and a Distinguished Alumnus of Rice University. In 2008 he was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest civilian honor conferred in the United States.

Yunfei Du

Yunfei Du is Associate Professor at the College of Information, University of North Texas. He teaches reference, technology, and management classes. His research interests include cultural diversity in library settings, community informatics, and cognitive styles. He is currently the principal investigator for the PEARL project, a research project working with rural libraries in Texas.

"An invaluable resource."
--Public Libraries

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