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Monday, June 11, 2018

Pop-Up Libraries: All of the Services, None of the Walls (Literally)

picnic table under a shelter in a park surrounded by green grass and trees

I got to attend the Lake Superior Library Symposium this year for the first time.  This small conference puts together librarians from academic and public (and a few special) libraries from 2-3 states, mixes, and creates an amazing blend of inspiration, networking, and ideas.  The timing is kind of rough for youth services librarians--early June is not usually an easy time to get away.  BUT, it is also rejuvenating and exciting and it is only one day.  I highly recommend it for next year (plus, Duluth is a pretty awesome place to visit in the summer).

One session I attended was by the people behind the amazing Ridgedale Branch of the Hennepin County Library.  Those of you who have been here a while probably have heard me ranting and raving about their beautiful Together campaign, inviting caregivers to interact and play with their kids. 

Their library was closing for a long stretch of time, starting last summer.  The librarians carefully researched some locations where they were expecting groups of kids and families to congregate during the summer (parks where the school lunch truck was dropping off lunch, farmer's markets, summer school sessions, Parks and Recreation day camps).  Then they made arrangements to bring a pop-up library to the site, where they were able to provide a place to look at and check out books, but also a place to interact with toys, puppets, and science materials--and with each other and the librarians and volunteers!

They saw many families they hadn't seen before, and learned a lot about how to create an inviting space in a variety of locations, along with how to actively invite people into the pop-up library.  Hopefully there are no big library closures in the future for any of you, but even without a closure, this is a great way to consider increasing the library's reach to families who, for a variety of reasons, may have a hard time making it into the library building.

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