Community partnerships are key to Library success

A few weeks ago, a member of one of our four Friends of the Library groups around the county reached out and asked me a very interesting question.  Her question was… with as many programs as you do per year around the county, how could you possibly afford to pay them all? The true answer is we couldn’t afford to pay them all, and if we had to, we would have a lot fewer programs!

Of course, the library system itself comes up, promotes, and performs most of the storytimes, book clubs, and craft sessions ourselves, which doesn’t cost any additional money other than what staff are paid and the amount needed for supplies. With that said, however, we also do pay for some of our bigger programs to come in and perform, especially in the summer for children and adults throughout the year. So how do we have so many programs if the library does some and we pay for a few? The answer is partnerships. Partnerships occur when the library system works with an outside partner, which is usually another non-profit organization in town but can also be a for-profit business as well. We work with the administration and/or owners of those organizations to see how we can put our limited resources to use for the betterment of the entire community.

These projects can happen in a variety of ways. For example, we can serve as a drop-off location for another non-profit’s activities in town. We do this twice a year with the United Way of Adams County as a place to donate food for their food drive happening now and for their back-to-school supply drive in the summer. Their goal is to get the boxes in as many public places as possible so the most items can be collected, and the library, of course, is a well-used community asset with branches around the 6 larger municipalities in the county.

While that type of partnership isn’t exactly programming-related, we do offer some programming partnerships as well. For the last three summers, Robyn Woods, our Children’s Librarian and Youth Services Coordinator, has worked with the Children of Gettysburg 1863 Museum to host monthly storytimes around their campfire in the summer. Since the library in Gettysburg didn’t have much grassy outside space to use when we were in the throws of COVID-19, they offered to host us and have the program around their campfire in the side yard. It worked out great and was so popular we continued to do it this year. Some families toured the museum before or after, but it wasn’t required. The Children of Gettysburg 1863 museum is one of the newer museums in town and wanted to have events outside of their traditional museum tours. It has turned out to be a wonderful event for both sides. We hope to continue this in the future.

Finally, the library system often works with daycares and senior living centers throughout the county to provide library materials to those centers. The library agrees with the daycare or senior living homes to hold a specific number of books there in a common area for learning and resident enjoyment. The library switches the books out once per month on a rotating basis, so new materials are always freshly available. This is a popular service and one that we are proud to partner with the daycares and senior living facilities.

No matter how you interact with the Adams County Library System, we wanted to let you know that community partnerships are just one way to do it. If you would like to partner with the library, please reach out to us, and we can talk! We never know what partnership is next on the horizon. Have a wonderful fall!

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