Mary Mardiguian, Co-Librarian, Faith Presbyterian Church, Colorado sent the following questions:
What are ways you have found to increase foot traffic to your library and generate interest in the library? What have you done about declining circulation?
I am in the process of creating a facebook page for our library To try to increase activity in the library. Hoping to get people to connect with OPAC And also be able to see new media in the library For adults and children. Another local church has done this and seems to be working well for them.
We had so many Bibles, I am giving them away. Different translations, etc. Whoever wants one come and get one. Also starting a new book section and moving the reference books to the back wall and new books on the front wall.
For 2020, we planned a Bingo like board with 25 different categories such as: a book about heaven, a book by a new to you author, the first book in a series, a book by a NC author, a missionary a classic book from before 2000, etc. We offered prizes for 5 books read, 15 books read, and completing all 25. We got several new readers and a number of our regular readers began to look for books in different genres than they were used to reading. It was going great... and then COVID! We were closed off and on during the year and most people lost interest in completing their boards but we did have several to finish all 25 categories. We hope to do it again in a year or two.
Our most popular = we had the men/women who were/had been in service bring a picture of themselves in uniform and displayed them around the room (July). We had a card telling what service they were in and their name. We did a separate area for deceased veterans. It was a lot of fun to see our men who are now 70-80 when they were in their 20's.
In October we had a cancer awareness month and had a chart with everyone who have/had cancer in our church - their names. We also had a separate area for deceased.
This year we are going to have a display in our lobby/atrium of our books and serve cookies/donuts. Went over well and got some new readers 2 years ago
We are also going to have "Reading for Pizza" contest during the month of August. We will have sign up in June.
In February, we bring the children in on Wednesday and let them prepare valentines (one to take home and one for the library). We supply all material. The ones that are left for the library, we hang from ceiling. Of course, the parents/grandparents have to come in and see the valentine their child created.
Until Covid, when church was printing up monthly newsletter, we had the "Library Corner" and featured an adult and a children's book. Hope to get that started back soon.
We are presently working with our staff to create a page on the web site which will tell everyone about our library and feature some new books in the library once a month.
Hope this gives you some ideas.
Since Memorial Day is coming up, we are giving away small American flags to anyone who comes in the library. We also hand them a library brochure which gives our hours and other pertinent information. Announcements are being made from the pulpit and posters are around the church advertising the event. Seems to be working very well. People come in that had no idea we even have a library.
When we noticed a decline in use by the Pre-school crowd in our new space, we built shelves which were placed near the nurseries for books that age group could look at while parents were picking up siblings from nursery after church, to look at during church. or while parents were talking in that area after church, If they wanted to take them home, the circulation desk was nearby for checkout. Since those shelves have been empty the past few months for safety reasons, many of those 2,3, and 4 year olds have now come into the library space with their parents to select books to take home! It's been very exciting.
There has also been a change in the demographic as children have aged a year or two. For a few years we didn't have many readers in the Juniors section, but now that the church library has been open while not all schools or public libraries have, our Junior section has seen a rapid rise in circulation simply due to having more students in that age group who are readers as well as being the only ones open!
We've also continued to offer a version of "curbside pickup" and a dropoff service for some of our congregation who are unable to get out or who are uncomfortable mingling with large groups. They arrange with me to pick items up at the church office or I will drop items off at their homes if they don't live too far away or if I can arrange to be in their area while running errands. Other church members do this with home-bound family members, friends and neighbors. Any way we are able to get items out to our congregation we will do! I try to steer individuals to items I think they might like and then let word of mouth take over. That seems to work well, especially with authors new to our library.
Those are a couple of things we are doing right now, We also hope to do some children's Storytime sessions this summer, perhaps on a Saturday morning or two. It's really getting to know the interests of the patrons that seems to make a difference.
One thing I do, since I'm also the church ministry assistant, is when space is available, I include a section of books that are new to the library, or maybe just hightlight a book that has been there a while. That seems to spark interest.