Libraries’ Outreach Programme – Waikato District Council

Waikato District Council

Read how Huntly library used an outreach approach to remove barriers for borrowing and get under-utilised material to kids in schools.

Problem

The Huntly library had a large supply of junior material that wasn’t being utilised. Children and families weren’t borrowing books from the library at desired rates.

Solution

The team at Huntly library launched an outreach programme, bringing reading material to classrooms. The programme involves library coordinators compiling material and delivering it to participating classrooms every 4 weeks. Materials can be customised to the classrooms depending on what topics the students are learning. Barriers to accessing material have reduced and borrowing has increased. The increase in borrowing statistics as well as the positive feedback received from customers proves that the Libraries Outreach programme is successful. Outreach is now happening out of other branches. The programme has been introduced to 7 schools and is extending to rest homes and pre schools in the area.

Observations and lessons learnt

Collaboration with the public and non-government entities

BUILDING GOOD RELATIONSHIPS WITH PARTNERS THAT STRENGTHEN OVER TIME CAN INCREASE YOUR IMPACT

The outreach programme relies on key relationships with schools. The Huntly team approached principals and teachers to determine their interest in participating and attended staff meetings to demo what the programme could look like.

Relationships between teachers and library staff provide  key networking opportunities for the library to showcase other services that they provide. The programme is growing organically through participating teachers sharing with their networks in the community. Denise says “the teachers love it, kids love it, and we love it. It feels really rewarding for everyone involved.”

Role of technology

ROBUST TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS ENABLE SET UP FOR SCALING OR REPLICATING

Huntly library uses the Library Management System to manage borrowing which ensures kids are getting different books and enables an easy recycling system so books don’t need to be reshelved between schools. The Outreach Programme is listed in the Promap system which could easily be shared and replicated in other libraries.

Attitude towards innovation

HAVING INDIVIDUALS APPROACH PROBLEMS WITH A CREATIVE MINDSET ENABLES INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS

The library coordinators were inspired to find a way to remove barriers and make material accessible to everyone using a creative solution, rather than sticking with the traditional operating model of waiting for customers to come to them. Venturing out to bring the products to their consumers has been a win-win for the library and the community. Denise says “it amazed me that we hadn’t thought about this before.”

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Read how Huntly library used an outreach approach to remove barriers for borrowing and get under-utilised material to kids in schools.