Outreach: It’s What We Do!

Candace Clarke moved to Northern Kentucky almost nine years ago.  A graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, she has worked at BCPL the past four years as a Youth Services Associate for Outreach.

Outreach can be a peculiar thing.  One can easily get stuck thinking that the purpose of outreach is to go out into the community and simply tell people about what we do, but it is so much more than self-promotion.  Outreach is an opportunity for BCPL to share opportunities with the community.  Outreach is a chance for us to get to know you a little better, and in so doing, find out what exactly you want and need from the Library.

The Library is a place where things happen.  As a customer, you know that you can connect online, over the phone, and in person.  The air in and around our buildings hums with a constant exchange of information and experiences.  We are striving to make that hum heard all over the county.  Not everyone is in a position to make it into one of our buildings, so we like to bring the Library experience to your neighborhoods.

Our Youth Services Department is continually expanding the ways we reach out to the young people in Boone County, as well as their families.  We attend back-to-school fests, visit classrooms, take part in community-based events, provide interesting activities at locations throughout the county, and present storytimes both with and without the Community Center on Wheels (CCOW).  CCOW photo nov 2012We get to share and create experiences with some incredible people — your children and neighbors!  Through all of these activities, we are investing in the community by enhancing and instilling a love of learning in the young people of Boone County.

One of the more easily recognized means of delivering the Library experience to you is the Community Center on Wheels.  In a month’s time, we visit almost 1600 children and present an average of 155 early literacy storytimes with the CCOW.  That adds up to a lot of learning!  I could tell you about how incredible it is to see the development of all these classes over the course of a year, but I’d rather let someone else tell you:

“Our students look forward to their visit each month and are sad when we miss our visits around Thanksgiving & Christmas (only because school is closed for the holidays).  It’s very handy to have a monthly field trip that comes to our school!  You don’t know how much we appreciate you all!” –Kim Bell, Director, Conner Middle Child Development Center

“The staff and students at CrossRoads Preschool look forward to their monthly visit from the CCOW with great excitement.  The kids love to pick out books and the story time is extremely enjoyable.  We feel fortunate that the library can come to us for a fun-filled, educational experience.  We are thankful for such a wonderful resource!” –Suzanne Byrns, Director, CrossRoads Preschool

“Our experience with the CCoW has been wonderful and quite enriching for our young learners. They are not only able to locate a story that is of interest to them personally but also listen and experience a story read to them that they otherwise may not have ever chosen on their own.  It is truly a magnificent experience to be involved in the growth and nurturing of our youngest children in their blossoming love of books.”
–Gloria Wagel, Director, The Learning Zone Preschool Inc.

“Boone County Library has been a wonderful asset and resource for our childcare program. We have the monthly visits and books are provided for our monthly themes through our school year. I believe ‘reading is the window to learning’ and the positive experience the children have with the Library leaves a lasting impression and provides the first steps to a solid foundation in early learning!” –Kathy Arnold, Early Childhood Development Director, YMCA of Greater Cincinnati  RC Durr YMCA

Remember that hum we talked about earlier? That hum is created by active minds and hearts.  We invest in the community by investing in our young learners, cultivating curiosity and empowering them with skills to seek knowledge.  Our young learners will grow up equipped with more of the tools necessary to make good choices, cope with disappointments, and imagine the next amazing accomplishment.  Our young learners will grow into adults who will recognize the value of education and community engagement. BCPL reaches out into the community not only because it is a way for us to share what we have to offer, but also to make sure that what we have to offer is shared with all of you.  Every person has a story, and we are privileged to be part of yours.


Reaching Out to the Community

Melanie Sperling has worked at Boone County Public Library for the past eleven years. Prior to working at BCPL, Melanie was an academic reference librarian. She is currently the Outreach Manager.

Our Outreach team works diligently to remove barriers to using the Library. A large portion of our Outreach program involves bringing library materials to a person’s home when they are unable to visit the Library. Any Boone County resident, regardless of age, who is unable to visit the Library due to a temporary or permanent physical limitation or lack of transportation, may receive delivery. Members of our Outreach team coordinate deliveries once per month. If you are interested in Outreach delivery, please call us at 342-2665, extension 8108.

The Outreach team also visits senior homes and other residential care facilities with programs geared especially to residents. A recent program involved a short video on the history of Ireland at Colonial Heights. Residents who had visited Ireland shared their photos and memories. Others shared stories about their Irish heritage.

Other groups that have asked the Outreach team to bring programs on the road include Beckfield College and National College. In each instance, students learned how they can use the Library’s Research Tools in conjunction with resources provided by their respective colleges to complete assignments, thus earning degrees.

Did you know that The Freestore Foodbank considers many Boone County residents to be food insecure, a term that translates to not knowing where you will get your next meal? This is a sobering but true fact of life for some of our most vulnerable neighbors, including a large number of children and seniors. Generous monetary contributions made by organizations including The Boone County Extension Homemakers (BCEH) and The Florence Woman’s Club (FWC) to the Freestore Foodbank Mobile Food Pantry have allowed us to distribute food to needy families. You may be asking yourself, “How can the Library do this?” Long story short, we can do this because we are your community partner who has a large number of dedicated, truly terrific volunteers who are willing to do anything to serve their community’s needs. For example, on July 10, volunteers from the BCES, the FWC, 7 Hills Church, St. Vincent de Paul and our own Teen Advisory Group (T.A.G.) distributed 10,000 pounds of food plus the contents of a box truck brimming with personal hygiene products to Boone County residents in need at a Freestore Foodbank Mobile Pantry distribution held in the parking lot of our Florence Branch Library. Including the event held on July 10, the Library has hosted 4 distributions serving 984 households totaling 2,163 people in 2013. With our July Jeans Day funds, the Library staff has set a goal of raising the $625 necessary to host a pantry visit that will serve 100 families, as we did last year.

Thank you for reading my post. Should you have any questions about adult Outreach, please call the Library or email me at msperling@bcpl.org.