Community Outreach with “Tool.0”

I just had the pleasure of listening to another session this afternoon that also related a lot to library promotion.

Dean Frey of Red Deer PL in Alberta, Canada, told listeners about how he used Web 2.0 tools to reach out targeted communities such as people with developmental disabilities, seniors, teens, aboriginals, low-income people, etc. Since RDPL’s mandate is to reach every person in the community, the staff found ways to engage and excite everyone. They started arts programs, an election forum w/ candidate info, blogs, and more. There’s a great article in here somewhere for Marketing Library Services (and I already talked to Dean about writing it!). Stay tuned for that.

You can learn a lot about these programs at, but for now I’ll center on one point I found especially important. He told listeners how vaulable it was to hire a community development (ie, outreach) librarian, and how it led to so much PR and exposure. In fact, near the end of his talk Dean said "I will no longer hire anyone but community development librarians," adding that even tech people and paraprofessionals will have to have those skills. That’s how much targeted outreach has meant to his library.

Again, you can have lots of cool tech and fun programs, but if people don’t know about them, they won’t matter. So get onboard with outreach! Do 2.0 if you can, do 1.0 if you need to. The bottom line, though, is promotion.

~Kathy Dempsey

CIL & MLS Editor




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