WebJunction

How to Discover What Your Community Really Wants

Community members participating in a discussion

Editor's Note: It is vital that public libraries understand the needs and interests of their communities and patrons to stay relevant in the 21st century. That's easy to say, but hard to do. Online and paper surveys are a common tool for this, but they have limitations. The main limitation of the survey approach is that it generally avoids direct interaction between a library and its community members or member-to-member interactions.

WebJunction has addressed this by compiling an astonishingly rich resource describing other useful techniques for finding out what your local community wants called a Basket of Discovery Tools. We like it so much that we reprint it here with permission from WebJunction to ensure that this great resource gets the widest possible attention.

If you missed yesterday's webinar...

If you missed yesterday's webinar on supporting patron learning in small spaces with small budgets, never fear - it was recorded!

Upcoming Edge Benchmark Webinars

Please join us for two free upcoming webinars! On Wednesday, May 15th, Alexis Caudell, Director of the Mitchell Community Public Library in Indiana, will discuss Planning: A Small Library's Strategies for Tech Success. On Wednesday June 12th, Wendy Street, Director of the Pella Public Library in Iowa, will discuss how to Support Patron Learning in Small Spaces with Small Budgets.

Libraries build digital communities

Today I'm co-facilitating an ALA session titled, "Libraries Lead Community Digital Inclusion." Along with my colleagues from WebJunction, ICMA, and IMLS, we'll be guiding librarians through activities that utilize IMLS' recently published Building Digital Communities framework. I'll be talking about gathering stakeholders and leaders for digital inclusion work. Here's what I plan to share.

Do you do digital inclusion?

Digital Inclusion is a tough term. Tough, because it isn't often one that organizations use, understand, or have even heard. Sure, there are all sorts of words we don't use or need to use, but for libraries, nonprofits, and elected officials, "digital inclusion" is increasingly an important term to add to our collective lexicon.

Focus on success, not survival.

This morning I was truly fired up after reading fundraising literature and thinking of ways libraries can easily implement many of the ideas used successfully by nonprofits. One thing that was mentioned several times was the importance of not asking for money, but instead sharing stories of people impacted by the organization and then presenting an opportunity to help or contribute to a specific program or project.

Two (free) fantastic online learning opportunities

There are many oppportunities for free online learning in the library world, including of course, TechSoup webinars! Coming up in the next few weeks two events caught my eye that I'm particularly excited about: WebJunction's 2-day online conference, Trends in Library Training and Learning, and Library Journal's The Post Recession Library: Why Technology is No Longer a Luxury, featuring R. David Lankes (great speaker!).

I laughed, I cried: why the ARSL-ABOS 2010 conference was a hit!

Librarians, bookmobiles, and a whole lot of inspiration captivated and captured my attention a couple weeks ago. The setting was the mile high city of Denver, where over 400 rural and small librarians and bookmobilists convened to share ideas and spark new ones.

Sharing Your Technology Training Materials

Do you or someone at your library have training materials to share? WebJunction has a great project underway right now to help public library trainers across the country develop a valuable collection of library technology training resources and assets. This repository of course materials will be reusable under Creative Commons licensing to help reduce the burden of developing and finding training materials.

WebJunction conducted a survey and identified the following top five categories of materials that are most needed for public training:

Collecting Patron Technology Training Resources

WebJunction is taking a giant leap forward for library trainers across the country, by developing a truly valuable collection of library technology training resources and assets. These materials will be free to download and reuse, which will help reduce your library’s burden of developing and finding training materials. I'm so excited to be working with WebJunction on this project. It is actually a dream come true for me.