Here for You

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					Here for You
  Bringing non-traditional users to
  the library and strengthening
  social cohesion in rural

  George Stock
  Oxford County Library
  For Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2004
Oxford County

           . Harrington
       Oxford County Library

18 branches:
   one town
    Ingersoll population 11,000
   17 villages
    populations 2,500 to 109
   floor space
    12,000 to 370 square feet.
Here for You
   Funded by Ontario Works and
    HRSD (then HRDC)
   One program coordinator, one
    children’s services coordinator
   Purpose: To attract low income
    families to the library and improve
    social cohesion
A Market Approach

The product (service) offered must
  address the needs and
  characteristics of the target group
    Characteristics of Target
   Low income
   Lack information resources,
    connection to resources
   Different class “rules”
   Value family
   Low literacy
   Stigmatized, socially excluded
   Negative experiences in
    government and learning settings
Design of Activities
   Free admission
   Emphasis on family activities
   Fun-filled
   Food/snack
   Free draws
   Low risk
       Outside library
       Subtle references to reading/learning
       No social differentiation
Free Family Fun Days
   “Art by Squirt”
Free Family Fun Days
   “Chalk a Walk”
Free Family Fun Days
   “Fall Thing”
Free Family Fun Days
   “Festive Family Fun”
Free Family Fun Days
   Clowns
Free Family Fun Days
   Popcorn, snacks, soft drinks
Free Family Fun Days
   Face-painting, tattoos, balloons
Free Family Fun Days
   Storytime often leads to
    spontaneous reading
       Posters
       Bulk mail - everyone
        included, minimal cost
       Schools - wallet cards
        (“Kids: Bring your parents”)
       Minimize words, include
        pictures of location,
        activities; highlight
        keywords “free”, “family”,
They say there’s nothing to do
They say….
   Local content
    (celebrates community)
   Addresses but challenges mindset
   Nostalgic component
    (“we used to do that when we were kids”)
   Promotes family values
   Something for everybody
Free draws
   Low risk way to collect participation
   Increases excitement
   Books as prizes
Targeted events
   “Red Hot Wheels”
   “Facts on Snacks”
   “Drop in to be Well Aware”
   “Map Your Farm”
   “Net a Job”
“I Spy” Community
Scavenger Hunts
   Family-oriented.
   Local questions relating to history,
    businesses, services, amenities,
    unique characteristics.
   For fun. Prizes awarded based on
    draws. All participants given
    completion certificates
   Prizes donated by local
    businesses, individuals,
   24 Family Fun events             1766
   26 Family information sessions    252
   13 Community Scavenger Hunts     600+
Impact Indicators
   34% of family fun event
    participants attended library only
    semi-annually or less frequently
   first 6 events and 7 scavenger
    hunts known to result in 37 new
    cards issued
   first 6 family fun events: 147
    attended who were not previous
    library users
   anecdotal evidence
  George Stock
Special Projects Coordinator
   Oxford County Library
    C/o Innerkip Library,
    695566 Oxford Rd 5
 Innerkip, Ontario N0J 1M0
      (519) 469-3824
   email: <>
    fax: (519) 469-3185

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