Going Beyond the Stacks

My supervisor, Lynn, and I had the opportunity this afternoon to visit with the Welcome Club of Lawrence which meets monthly for a luncheon and presentation at the Alvamar Country Club. They treated us to cold cut sandwiches, fruit and cheesecake for dessert, and then we presented on the topic of "Contemporary Communication Technology." Knowing that we had given a similar presentation on eBooks for a University of Kansas alumni group, one of the first vice presidents and co-program chairs, Marlene, came to the library about a month ago and invited us to come and share with the group about the different smartphones, tablets, and other devices available. The members of the group that generally attend the lunches are retired, and Marlene thought they would be interested in learning about the different things their children and grandchildren use to communicate and connect to the internet.

When we first arrived, we still didn't know quite what to expect - but we were excited to have the opportunity to share with them. Several of the board members of the group greeted us and introduced us to many of the members, who ranged in ages from 40 to late 80's. They were all very friendly, and once our presentation commenced, many had questions and comments to share. Lynn and I started by showing off the different Apple and Android devices available, then we talked about WiFi and data plans, and then briefly toured Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as examples of websites their children and grandchildren probably access. I was amazed and impressed at the variance in experience and knowledge they demonstrated, and Lynn and I could have gone on for hours answering questions and talking about social media sites. After we had finished, Marlene and members of the board said that that was the most participation they've ever had at any of their luncheons.

On our drive back to the library, Lynn and I discussed how well the presentation went, and envisioned the possibility of presenting to other groups in town. As our library moves toward a renovation process, with the possibility of temporarily relocating during construction, these outreach opportunities will become much more important. It was a perfect way for us to promote library services (several in the group expressed an interest in attending our upcoming computer class about Facebook) as well as network with members of the community. We didn't just share about technology, we demonstrated the importance and relevance of the library and what we can provide for them.

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