Many thanks to Laura, who sent me the rescued original post. It follows below:
We Are the Champions: 20s-30s Library Advocacy
Speaker: Jessica Zaker, Branch Supervisor, Sacramento Public Library
Speaker: Lori Easterwood, Programming Supervisor, Sacramento Public Library
Speaker: Meg Dana, alt+library Friends
I felt like this was a program where my RA work and Friends Liaison work overlapped, so I am going to blog about it here.
- Alt Library at Sacramento Public Library. Click here for details. It started as a programming arm for 20s and 30s, but now is morphing more into advocacy.
- They started it because they wanted programs at their library for people like themselves.
- They thought these people weren't using the library, but they found that 37% of their card holder were 20-40. Maybe just not at programs.
- Wanted to do it on the cheap.
- One lady has a passion for fitness so they have had zombie aerobics, heavy metal yoga. They try to find local experts and work from there.
- They are also working off of the DIY movement and living more simply.
- Herb Garden Mixology: so using what people are already into [gardening] and adding in drinking. No liquor at the program though. Library also already had a seed library at the library.
- Raw food got 30 young adults. It was the first program funded by their Alt Friends group. No cooking since Raw. Supported the program with books from the collection.
- After Hours programs work well. They did a Bollywood program. Showed a movie and got a henna artist. 60 people showed up. Again, here they went with something one of the women already loved and said, hey let's see who shows up.
- Did a Karaoke night too.
- How to get them there. Mix of good posters and social media. Meetup.com/altlibrary. They pay a nominal annual fee to have their group on the site. It has been a great tool for finding new people.
- A lot of people who come to the alt library events are new to town and want to meet people.
- They did speed dating for book lovers. Both same sex and hetero.
- Volunteermatch.org to look for graphic design help. This is how they also found their current Alt Friends President.
- A group of 20-30 somethings to advocate and fundraise for the library. Now have grown to 5 Board Members. Meet at a coffee shop.
- We are the Friends for a virtual space. The Friends of Alt+ Library operate at a virtual branch. They had to work through making their own model to make this work. Don't have a place to hang flyers.
- Go out into community and sell books at craft fairs
- Fundraise at programs
- Use Facebook to "hang flyers."
- One of our board members is a social media consultant as her day job. Leveraged Facebook ads. Cheap and good.
- Go out in the community and do outreach that way. Sacgeekscards.com was a deck of cards and the alt friends was the 7 of clubs. People had to collect them all over town to get a full deck. We gave out our cards, but the 50 other groups were aware of us too.
- Fundraising: Getting a space at the big craft fair was a big deal. It gave us a place to sell books and do paper crafting.
- They now have the alt library craft committee. They come into the library once a month. The group pays for the supplies and the group make crafts we can sell. It is fundraising and a social event all rolled into one.
- Social Aspect is key
- Interactive too. The Spelling Bee was a great example. Yes it was a spelling bee but it was also a fundraiser. You could buy an extra chance for $1, you could pay more for a dictionary, you could pay to ask a friend. They got a nice pile of cash at the end of it and it was fun.
- Perks they offer: When they join the Alt Friends, group tries to give them something, like a donated book.
- They did have to bring the idea of the Alt Friends to the regular friends group for permission. The alt group also got $500 from the traditional friends as seed money to get started.
- Partnerships: Got a gym to help with the punk rock aerobics and now they send a trainer to run the alt friends fitness. They advertise their fitness services at the library and the library advertises at the gym. Library took World Book Night books to the gym. Useful to have these connections. Also, she said I have never been so sweaty at the library, which challenges perceptions of what the library is about too.
- One presenter is on a roller derby team. Their fundraiser will be for alt friends this year. The takeaway here is to use your personal connections to find new outlets.
- Be inclusive, gay friendly for example.
- They also decided to be age friendly. Won't throw you out if you are older than 39. If you want to do this stuff, come.
- Ask people for stuff, tell them it is for the library. People often say yes.
- One example is they worked with these downtown business map people to get blank maps with the alt library logo and have people make their personal map of their favorite places.
- Alt libraries is about increasing positive awareness of the library
- Get provocative titles: Broke Ass Holidays-- a holiday craft program where you could make gifts for people. Also Teas-Me where they talked about tea and got donated bulk tea leaves where people could make their own tea blends.
- Trying to meet groups that are already in area where they are to garner new advocates for the library.
- alt friends went to city council when the library budget was up to show that young people love the library.
- Blend the fun with the advocacy.
- Get noticed however you can.
- Did a walk where people submitted their "happy place" within the downtown grid. All read a travel writing book--Geography of Bliss. Talked about the book while they walked and then when they got to a new place on the list, the person who submitted it talked about why they loved that place. They had 20 people walking around town in conversation; it got noticed.
- Questions about not putting flyers in libraries. She said each branch has a friends group and don't want to step on their toes. Also, they want to get new people who don't necessarily go to the library.
- Question about how to market to 20s and 30s. It's not just where you put the flyers. It is the look of the flyers and the edginess that draws a younger crowd. Also, force people you know to come and then the word of mouth gets new people.
- Coasters as an advertising tool.
- Alternative Presses.
- An audience member did a Hippie to Hipster program that crosses the generations.