September 21, 2010

Librarians Helping Librarians . . . St. Aidan's United Church, Victoria, BC: NCLA Resources Spark Ideas

I wanted to share this with you given that Libraries Alive/Branches sparked it: We just had a wonderful experience. I'd been working on building up stronger connections with the various committees/teams and the ministry staff to make sure that they knew we wanted to support them with resources, and needed to know what they were planning so we could be proactive. I went to several of their monthly meetings and talked it up.

Whenever we saw they had an event or issue highlighted in the bulletin, I hunted up what we had on the topic and often took a display and or booklist to their event. Where we had limited resources I also hunted up what the public library had, or searched for online resources. It's paid off in several ways.

Three of the teams have now come to me to let me know that they had decided to give part of their budgets to the library, often with suggestions of items they wanted me to purchase, but not always. They are letting us know further in advance what they're concentrating on or planning. And our new team of ministers is GREAT! They're enthusiastic users of the library and keep me hopping trying to keep up with them! So much so that I might as well have a full time job again!

We're in the middle of another profile raising project. I found a church library use survey in last summer's Libraries Alive, and adapted it to our situation. Basic questions asked were: Does our church have a library? How much do you use it? What do you use it for (kinds of materials)? and If you don't use it, or use it very little, why? (e.g. prefer to buy, too old/unappealing, don't have what I want etc.). We figured given the number of spoken and written ways we had used to promote the library that everyone (except maybe newcomers) knew about it. We added questions about our website, and gave room for comments.

When we put this in as a bulletin insert, some people replied. So yesterday I asked if the greeters could hand out questionnaires to anyone who hadn't filled one out last week and got lots more responses. The one that made my day (I was on duty yesterday) was a woman who had never used the library but because of the questionnaire decided it was time she checked it out and ended up borrowing 4 books. Circulation was the highest ever for one day! Cause for celebration, for sure.

—L.B., Librarian, St. Aidan's United Church, Victoria, British Columbia
Congregation : 295 families, collection : 2300 including magazines