Want to Save Libraries?

I think every library, be it public, school, academic, or special, can learn a lot about survival from the children’s departments of public libraries–because we’re not going anywhere. Even if the rest of the library as we know it collapses and crumbles, children’s librarians will still be around, in some form or another, doing what we do.

Why is this? Why will we survive budget cuts and closures while other libraries and library departments might fail? Simple: we provide unique, superior value and we make sure people know about it. Also, we’re the nicest people in the library world, and that keeps people coming back.

Now, this is not to say that no one else provides value, or gets the word out, or is nice. What I am saying is that the most successful children’s librarians–and, very often, teen librarians–have a certain formula that will consistently provide results. A great children’s department will often have both the highest program numbers as well as the highest circulation numbers, and depending on how the library budgets, that often means they end up getting the most money.

There are four key areas in which children’s librarians excel, and they are:

  1. Outreach
  2. Programming
  3. Service
  4. Collections
I’m going to discuss each of these four areas in turn. Stay tuned for our first topic, outreach.
p.s. I think that insect is actually a beetle.

8 responses to “Want to Save Libraries?”

  1. You totally have it here Julie. My only hesitation is that all this glitteriness/grittiness/stick-to-itiveness/awesomeserviceness while resulting in increased attendance, increased goodwill and love and increased circ seldom seems to end with a bigger piece of the budget pie. Your posts will help bring that about. Gonna be linking to your words on Tiny Tips because you have a hold of something very vital here!


    1. Having the highest circulation does equal to increased materials funding. Not a lot, but a little.


    2. Thanks, Marge! I appreciate having you as a part of this large conversation.


  2. Increased circulation in children’s and young adult does help with increase funding for materials. Not a whole lot but a little.


  3. […] Miss Julie, you really have no business calling a beetle a cockroach in your series on librarianship and outreach. Perhaps I’d lambast you for that elsewhere. On the other hand, one must assert the right of […]


  4. […] Hi Miss Julie – primary school librarian with lots to say!  I like very much.  Especially this post! […]


    1. So flattered to be on this list! I’m not actually a primary school librarian, though, I’m a children’s librarian in a public library. 🙂


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