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The Great Librarian Adventure

The Alliance Library System, Illinois, created with the help of an LSTA grant an entire recruiting campaign titled "The Great Librarian Adventure" (click on Public Access for information on the status of the program and success stories). The campaign centered on the task of making as many contacts with people of all ages about the many aspects of the career of librarianship. To make these contact librarians are encouraged to speak to as many people as possible. These speaking engagements can be at the library as an open house event, a kickoff to summer reading or a special week such as national library week. The events also could be out of the library to local community groups, the chamber of commerce or at schools. They have provided several tips to others undertaking such a campaign.

Ten steps to securing Speaking Engagements:

  1. Determine the primary audiences or prospects you want to reach.
  2. Prepare a scheduling sheet for each of you prime prospects.
  3. Conduct initial talks with key decision makers.
  4. Follow-up your conversation with a letter or invitation.
  5. Be clear and precise in you requests.
  6. Determine the best time to present.
  7. Estimate the number of people you want to attend.
  8. Pay a visit to the past.
  9. Scour your community for other speaking opportunities.

With the Great Librarian Adventure specific messages were to be given and instructions for tailoring them to specific audiences were given. The adventure theme led itself to several props that were provided to the members of the Alliance Library System. These are common items that anyone may have at their house or could easily borrow.

Here are a few of the props and ideas on how to use them:

  • Binoculars—Look out at your audience and tell them what you see, e.g. “I see a lot of future librarians out there.”

  • Carabineer—Reminds your audience that librarians connect things together, e.g., patrons and technology.

  • Flashlight—Sends the message that librarians spotlight hard to find information, shine the light on information and lead the way for patrons.

  • Fake coins—Use chocolate candy wrapped in gold foil to look like coins or plastic gold coins, Librarians know the difference between fools gold and solid gold information.

  • Water bottle—Librarians mentor children to wet their thirst for knowledge.

With this theme there were games, suggestions for library tours that pointed out not what is in the library but what the librarian does in those areas. And even suggestions for refreshments. They used the three tried and true presentation approach of:

  1. The Open, “Tell them what you’re going to tell them.”
  2. The Body, “Tell Them.”
  3. The Close, “Tell them what you told them.”

For each of these sections information was supplied to the librarians to make this as easy as possible.

One tool that was used to follow-up with people who were interested in finding out more about librarianship after attending a recruitment event sessions was the Sign-up card for Recruitment Candidates. View a sample Sign-up Card.


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Last Revised: July 20, 2009