rusq: Vol. 50 Issue 2: p. 193
Sources: Librarians as Community Partners
Margie Ruppel

Margie Ruppel, Assistant Professor, Reference Librarian, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho

This book is composed of descriptions of successful outreach programs contributed by librarians in all types of libraries as well as library and information science faculty members. Together, the contributions meet the book’s goal of showcasing “new and innovative ways to build programs that meet customer needs while expanding the library’s scope into the community” (back cover). This book’s strengths are its easy-to-read descriptions of projects, its helpful advice, and its variety. The book’s intended audience is library professionals and students of library and information science.

Each outreach story includes the project’s mission, steps taken, logistics, pitfalls to avoid, marketing and promotion, and the project’s effectiveness. The projects are grouped into sections that include outreach to seniors, youth, correctional facilities, special collections patrons, classrooms, and diverse communities. Additional chapters cover using local media for outreach and hosting book festivals as a way to extend the library’s mission. Examples of projects include an edible book contest, a summer reading program for prisoners and their children, a digitization project for community newspapers, a Day of the Children/Day of the Books celebration, and a town and gown lecture series.

Several project descriptions are particularly helpful because they give direction on how to plan, market, deliver, and assess a program. One chapter lists the characteristics, experiences, preferences, and interests of Boomers and describes how to plan and market services for them. Another chapter describes how libraries, vendors, agencies, and health providers collaborated on a regional Low-Vision Fair. The librarian describes the benefits of this event: “All participants—the attendees, the exhibitors, and the libraries—gain something, whether it’s information, customers, clients, patrons, or a reputation for serving persons with limited sight” (99).

After the outreach project descriptions, the book concludes with an afterword, a list of contributors, and an index. This book is recommended for any librarian interested in pursuing outreach projects that extend the library’s reach. It fills a gap in the literature by including examples of outreach from diverse types of libraries; other books on the topic focus on one type of library or one group of users.



Article Categories:
  • Library Reference and User Services
    • Sources

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