Hello? Do You Know We’re Here?
The workshop started off with Community Partnerships from the dynamic Laurie Golden from the Canton Public Library. Her job is Community Relations. She had this advice:
- Finding Partners: Look around your community, find a need, small scale is fine.
- How will this partnership meet your library’s mission?
- Is it mutually beneficial?
- Are you adding value or expertise?
- Administering Partnerships
- Structure: Name a point person. 1 library person contacts 1 person at the partner for ALL contact.
- Communication: Expectations, Needs (physical – tables, etc. and otherwise). Be clear, make sure they understand that it is an educational program and they cannot “sell” their services to your patrons.
- Data: Track stats, impact, media reporting. Be able to show your partner how valuable they are, how important their contribution is.
- Reliability issues: All partners sign a performer’s contract even if event is free
- Evaluating Partnerships: (I have to say Laurie is a wonderful speaker and here her PowerPoint showed a picture of a romance novel cover with the caption “Was it good for you too?” The room erupted into laughter.)
- Reciprocity: Did both sides gain from the partnership?
- Branding: Would you take this partner home to meet your mom? Do they fit with your goals? Were they reliable? Courteous? Too needy? Labor intensive?
- Partner Recognition
- Say Thank You – Sign at event, letter of appreciation, mention in press release
- Say it Again! – Post flyers around the library during the event thanking the partners
- Social Media, article on website
- Signage, both in library and for them, give them space for a booth at events, end of SRP, etc.
Some successful partnerships:
City’s Economic Development Department
Farmer’s Market – Storytime and crafts
SCORE – information/advice for small businesses
H&R Block –program on new tax laws
Walgreens – Flu shots, Blood pressure screenings
DIA – Inside Out program, Chalk Art night, Art Studio, Youth Philharmonic
Canton Leisure Services
Plymouth Flyers – players read to kids
Detroit Area Diaper Bank – library collects diapers, receives excellent PR
Menchie’s – Partners for SRP, with Friends group, brings Mascot, fundraiser where patron takes flyer to Menchie’s and library receives 10%
DDA – Card for check out at library, patron receives a discount at business, only certain # of check outs allowed in a time period
One final word of advice from Laurie: Don’t be afraid to let something go. Canton sponsored a MLK Day event that outgrew the library and were receiving little to no recognition in the new venue, combined with way too much effort on their part, so they stepped away and let the new venue run with it.