Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Why I Love... Library Outreach

I am unexpectedly at home today because of the unscheduled Wmataliday. The DC metro closed for the entire day for safety searches. Yeah. That's comforting. (You can read more about it on The Washington Post.) I'm dependent on metro to get to work (we are open today) and, after exploring my options, I opted to burn a vacation day. This makes me sad because this post is, tangentially, is related to something good I saw on metro.

Yesterday, when I was disembarking my train to go to work, I came face-to-face with a great ad (image below). The DC Public Library is reaching out to families to put books in their homes. First, it's a great program. Studies show that having books at home for kids to read increases their literacy levels. Second, it's wonderful that DCPL is using outreach to get this program in front of those who may benefit from it.

The ad is large, colorful, and easy to understand. By placing them at metro stations, DCPL is reaching out directly to those daily commuters who would most benefit from this program. Metro riders' demographics are very diverse, but a large segment is made up of those who work minimum wage jobs and don't own a car. This group does not necessarily have disposal income to buy books for their or their childrens' personal use. They may also lack the means to get to a local library. By advertising a program that mails free books to a person's home, DCPL is doing a great community service. 

I love that DCPL both thought about a great program to offer and an effective method to conduct outreach in the community. This is what libraries do. This is what they are all about - getting books in the hands of those who need and want them most. Creating lifelong readers out of all children is one of the core philosophies of libraries. I hope that this outreach is incredibly successful.


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