Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Reaching Patrons: Online Outreach for Public Libraries by Sarah Houghton-Jan

Sarah Houghton-Jan is one of several people at Internet Librarian with multiple presentations. She had a quick Jamba Juice for lunch on Monday and took the stage a second time with her presentation Reaching Patrons: Online Outreach for Public Libraries.

With many library users (and nonusers), especially teens, on the web gathering information, Sarah says that it is important for the public library to go where they go and be where they look. To this end she has created a 20-item checklist for library cyberoutreach.

I am glad to see that my library does some of the things that she suggests. Still there are some opportunities we have not taken. I plan to address items #5 (List your library events and services in local community websites and calendars) and #11 (Check reviews of your library on social review sites) when I get home.

One of the points Sarah makes is that once a library goes onto the web with its services it adopts everyone on the planet as possible library users. We have no choice. We have to get past geographically-limiting thinking. We serve everyone or no one at all. If we serve no one, then our purpose disappears.


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