A small, but mighty group of library support staff met on Tuesday, June 18 for a discussion on issues at public libraries, including privacy concerns, working with teens, parking, and getting materials to homebound adults. The meeting was facilitated by Tammy Myers of Poughkeepsie Public Library.
Events at the library: This time of year is weird. A recent storytime event with dogs has low attendance, despite being popular earlier in the year.
People sign up online for events and then don’t come. However, the recent NFL Expo had 166 people, and an atmosphere like a comic-con.
Privacy concerns, especially when it comes to children. Tricky issues include children whose parents are getting divorced, and which parent’s name is on the card. Some parents don’t want to be responsible for late fees. A policy about checked out materials means that the guardian can know what children have been checking out. Newburgh can’t give titles out over the phone, and that goes for everybody, including adults and children. No adults can volunteer in the children’s area, in order to not have to run background checks on adult volunteers.
Newburgh has an opt-out policy for photographs, a sign is posted in the children’s room stating that your picture might be taken.
LibGuides for tutoring and homework help. Poughkeepsie has tutors who use the space, but they don’t organize the program. Newburgh has homework help every day and the library coordinates it. Poughkeepsie has high school kids in to help, but they are working on getting more kids into the program.
Time out Tuesday is for kids to drop in and spend time in the library. MSMC students come in to mentor.
One of the libraries now has one person as the point of contact for social media, and they also have a newsletter and flyers. Communication is difficult between branches, and sometimes the best way is to check the online portal, but a lot of patrons want answers over the phone.
Summer reading is a space theme for New York State.
How do you get people to come to something? Charge a nominal fee, know that regulars will show up, sending registration reminders, make it a deposit, remind them frequently
Not enough parking can be a problem in Poughkeepsie.
Auto renewal has started, but there are some complaints, and it’s a little confusing to remember how long you’ve had items out. Some patrons are quite happy about hearing about the renewal.
Goshen is redoing the entire building and is currently closed, and has been since early April, they’ll be open any day now. People picked up holds at Chester in the meantime. Grand opening is happening sometime this summer.
Boardman Road has events sometimes, but the main library isn’t open while the event space is open, and that is confusing to people. Sometimes that’s even better so that the parking lot empties out. They can have a smaller staff presence on event nights, because Friday late nights were not big times for reference or research, just internet use.
Newburgh does it from the main branch, they started it recently. Goshen mails them in the blue bags. Poughkeepsie has a staff member who delivers. People who use the service have an application that is signed by a home health aide or a doctor.
Most people have figured out that the library isn’t going to be quiet, but there are still some people who want absolute silence. Headphones have helped the situation a lot. Tutors are allowed to talk quietly and that keeps the noise level up.
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
The topic will be community outreach and marketing.
Tammy Myers will be the facilitator, and Clarissa Rosario-DeGroate is on deck to facilitate the following meeting.