Published on Programming Librarian
…Linda Holtslander, Loudoun County (Va.) Public Library, talks about the diversity of both the library’s programming and the interests of county residents as one big reason why collaboration pays off. By tapping into local organizations, the library not only reaches specific audiences but benefits from the implied endorsement of those connections. Whether it’s a local newspaper, health club, or religious organization, it connects patrons with programs.
Holtslander offers these examples from the programming they’re doing for Mental Health Month in May and their current Let’s Talk About It: Love and Forgiveness series:
You might think mental health isn’t the easiest topic to draw audiences, but we have done this series for five years, with programs on stress, a yoga series, Qi gong, and writers’ workshops, such as In Our Own Voices, for those who have and are dealing with mental illness. We have tremendous support in getting the word out from the Department of Mental Health and various groups in the area— in the long run more people learn they are not alone and that these hurdles in life are shared by many. This year, we brought in two authors, both of whom had personal connections to mental health and also offered some name recognition—Pete Earley, former Washington Post reporter, whose book about his son was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, and Sally Quinn, also of the Washington Post, who appeared with her son, author Quinn Bradlee. Not only are the two authors coming to talk about what they care about emotionally, they are well-known individuals. I guess the term for this would be “spin” in marketing—bring in the celebrity and give them the motivation of the program (mental health awareness).
For our Love and Forgiveness series, we did this panel discussion with speakers from nine different faith groups. Our partner was an interfaith organization called Bridges—they are our messengers to the community that this type of programming is what we do really well. I have been here nineteen years and have seen the county go from 60,000 to almost 300,000, so I know that we are not just one thing, but a lot of things, lots of concerns and causes.