Do print collections actually meet the needs of your patrons?
Non-traditional collections actually give patrons the tools to use the information they find in the library - guitars, seeds, video games, ereader, etc.
We don't circulate DVD players. Because market penetration of DVD players means most people have them, but only a low percentage of people have ereaders (this will change over time).
Look for partners - contact Barnes & Noble (or other ereader providers) to donate them, give classes, and provide support.
How to circulate ereaders
- circulate in a padded bag to protect the ereader, along with instruction sheet, circ rules, and a patron survey
- content: load different ereaders with different genres (best sellers, childrens, teen, etc) and people check out whichever one they want - all titles were listed in the catalog
- needed to have a separate database to manage devices (and record all information, in case patron deregistered it somehow)
- losses and damages: out of 300 circing devices, only two have been damaged (one by staff, during transit)
- training: classes for staff (try to train everyone, and give lots of hands-on time), and classes for the public, along with YouTube videos (provided by B&N - and handouts and FAQs for both staff and public
- devices do need to be upgraded and maintained, because B&N doesn't support old versions
San Mateo is a "food desert" so this encourages people to eat healthier. Partnered with a group called Collected Roots - they help people created a raised bed in their backyard, and teach them how to plant (all for free).
How it works
- all seeds are donated
- people write down what seeds they're taking (comes with info on when and how to plant
- people don't need to return seeds (also don't want seeds that have been cross-pollinated
Total cost to set up: $30 - seed boxes from IKEA ($3/3 boxes), a binder (library already had). Shelf to hold boxes was donated by local artist who built it from recycled wood.
Partnered with a local band who gives lessons, and purchased 15 acoustic guitars (about $200/each), which circ for 8 weeks (grant funded). They also purchased a lot more guitar books, to go along with the lessons. Look for a local store to supply the guitars - hopefully they will work with you select which guitars are best for this project, and help with advice down the road.
Guitars are not requestable, so that they don't have to travel through transit to other libraries.
This project motivated staff to learn guitar, and childrens librarians are trying to do musical storytime.
Programming in a box
Boxes make it easy for staff to present programs - requested through staff intranet (contents are fully catalog, but not visible to patrons). Program guides are provided, but staff are free to change things up any time and add to boxes. Some things can't be kept/shipped in boxes (liquids, etc), so sometimes the libraries have to go shopping after the box arrives. They currently have 64 boxes (for 28 branches), but it's growing all the time (will only stop when they run out of room).
Staff needs to book them to use, but need to spread them out because each box needs to come back to main library to be restocked.
These boxes are a huge timesaver for the staff, while still provided good programs to patrons.
Video game collections
Gaming is mainstream (everyone knows Pac-Man, Pokemon, Angry Birds), and almost a traditional library collection at this point.
Video games have plots, character development - same things as books (read Sex, Brains, and Video Games. Plus they lend themselves well to programs, tournaments, and community engagement - and tie-ins with books and movies.
This is probably the last generation of games that can be physically loaned - pretty soon games won't be played on consoles from cartridges.