Sunday, January 4, 2009

When times get tough, Libraries win..well sort of...

In the past two days I have come across two articles about how tough economic times = a boom for library usage.  

Katie Couric (link thanks to Diane Chen) has a notebook item about how libraries are the place to be in these tough economic times and she is encouraging people to dust off their library cards and "check them out".

The Boston Globe has an article today by Keith O'Brien that also explores the increase in library usage, but also adds in there the catch 22, in these economic times, library budgets are likely to be slashed, even if the libraries are increasing their circulation.

All this has me wondering what impact this has on school libraries.

The economic downturn will certainly have an impact on us.  Next year budgets for the media center are sure to be decreased (on a state and local level) and even though I still had a very profitable fall book fair, I am sure my profits will take a nose dive.

My patrons are loyal users, the teachers and students I serve often come to me before they hit the bookstore, so I am not thinking that my circulation will be up because of this, but I am thinking about what I can do to help the parents of our school.  I have always made it a point to talk up the public library and what they have to offer, maybe I need to do it more than once a year (summer reading time).  I have a small parent collection that hardly ever gets checked out, maybe I need to re-look at this collection and publicize it more, add more titles (of course this takes money).  I help run one after school program for 5th grade readers one day a week (readers rally, a reading competition our county holds), maybe I need to look at what else I can offer after school for students.

I think that building a stronger partnership with the public library in these times can only be a win win situation for both the school and the public library, I just need to figure out exactly how to do that.


Sue said...

Hey Kathy, Happy New Year! I did hear the news on libraries being the hot spot in this economy!
I am going to the Blogher conference in Chicago toward the end of July. I know I am crazy to leave Cape Cod in July, but it sounds like something new and different! And fun too! Want to go?

Franki said...

Didn't know about the Katie C. piece. Thanks for the info. I agree about the link to the library from a school perspective.
I love how much our public librarian does to promote the use of the library. She and the other children's librarians come and do programs with different grade levels throughout the year--coming out and then inviting them to special events at the library in the evenings. I think it makes a big difference on families coming to the library when they have familar faces that they've seen at school often. As a teacher, I loved it. As the school media specialist, I see what a difference it makes.