June 23, 2020
As we all know, curbside pickup is, well, picking up. While there are some libraries around the country that have been doing curbside pickup since March, many others are just getting started. Among the challenges of starting curbside comes opportunities to reach out to your community and let them know all the things the library offers them, both remotely and in-person. Not sure where to start? Here are six ideas:
Your community needs help finding books. Some of your patrons have “finished Netflix” while out of work and are out of ideas. Some of your patrons fall into bed every night too tired to think after working fulltime and providing fulltime childcare. Some of your patrons have read every book on their shelves and every book by their favorite author and don’t know where else to go. Make it easy on all of them by adding a checkmark or some other opt-in language for patrons who would love to get three more books you think they would enjoy in their curbside bag.
Not sure what to offer them? NoveList Plus can help you find read-alikes for the books, authors, and series on their checkout list, explore themes and appeals that might make for good matches, find some sure bets in our Recommended Reads lists, and more.
Your community used to have the opportunity to browse your displays, and they don’t anymore, or at least not in the same way. Include a mini display in each curbside bag with a readers’ advisory flyer. LibraryAware can help you quickly and easily make readers’ advisory flyers to tuck into each bundle based on what you would already be adding to a display (like I always did a July 4th and Bastille Day display with books about revolutions). If you’re out of ideas, print out items that catch your eye from the LibraryAware homepage to see what’s new and popular. Or use the search feature in LibraryAware to get ideas. Type in things like “romance,” “reaching readers,” “picture books,” etc. And limit to Flyer-books to see all your options.
You’ve still got online storytimes, book clubs, and cooking demonstrations happening. Make a quick flyer with times and dates of those programs and tuck that information into a curbside checkout bags. As you're packing bags, take the little extra step of adding a targeted program flyer to each bag. Got a bag with lots of picture books? Tuck in the online storytime flyer or your summer reading information. Got a bag with a cookbook? That one is perfect for the Facebook Live cooking demonstration your library is hosting.
Your community is hungry for ideas of what to read next, and NextReads is the “set-it and forget-it" friend you need to introduce them to. Each month they will get a list of recently released titles as well as some older sure bets that will help them find more to read. Your subscription to LibraryAware not only gets you and your patrons access to NextReads, but it also gives you access to templates to promote NextReads. Search “next reads” for some flyers that you can easily add your website and branding to, then pop those into a curbside bag.
You’ve got people in your community who need to revise their resume and others who are worried they will need to soon. If you’ve got LibraryAware and LearningExpress, you’ve got easy ways to promote ways your library can help them, from the comfort and safety of their homes. Search “LearningExpress” in LibraryAware for flyers that promote LearningExpress. LibraryAware has other resource promotion kits as well. Promote your entrepreneurial resources, your business resources, your genealogy resources, your digital magazines, and more.
As you share your story of library impact, take advantage of every opportunity to share the amazing things you’re doing. Put together a nice email with links to critical online resources like Flipster and Learning Express, a link to the online programming calendar, to your form-based RA form, etc. Include a picture of your library branch, the number to call for phone reference, etc. Thank the patron for their support. If your experience is anything like that of my friends still working in libraries, your patron missed you. They want to hear from you.
LibraryAware can help you turn each interaction with a patron into an opportunity to engage them further into your services — even if all they are doing is grabbing a bag with their name on it from a table. Schedule a demo to learn more.
Jennifer Lohmann is Director of Sales and Marketing for NoveList. She’s currently listening to Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.