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How do you build a good relationship with your local library?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
In order to make our home more a more manageable and peaceful place dh and I have decided to do a major purge.
One of my big time killers was picking up books. I have a collection of several thousand books and our goal is to get it down to around 100, that will include school books.
Other than for the occasional fun activity we do not really go to our local library. We never really had a need to because we had such a huge selection at home.
Many of my resource books I plan to buy back electronically and put on a Kindle, I am making a list as I go. But that just will not cut it when dealing with children they "need" that feel of the book in hand and the pictures laid out in front of them.
So basically for the first time ever we need to have a good/great working relationship with our local library.
We live in a small town with a small library. The selection is not great but they can of course get the books we will need through inter library loan, so I dont think that will be a problem. The real catch is that on the rare occasion that we have went we get the hairy eye from many of the librarians because we just dont look like most people in our town. Baby in sling, dh and oldest son with matching mohawks, oldest daughter with pink hair. Oh and if it is summer and they catch a glimpse of my hairy legs.... lol I think they would faint.
So how do I build a relationship with these ladies? I want us to be able to feel comfortable there and be able to enjoy ourselves and for them to know us as people and not just curiosities. There is one exception to the awkwardness the head librarian is the same lady that use to drive the book mobile were I lived as a kid and remembers me, she says she always remembers the "readers" lol. So when we run into her she always seems excited to see me and my family. So maybe start by working through her? Bake them some cookies? I do make some awesome chocolate chip!

As a homeschooler do you think we will use it that often now that we will not be having our large home library?
post #2 of 33
Are you going to donate any of the books you're getting rid of to the library? I would think that would give them a good feeling about you, especially if they're especially good books. - Lillian
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 
Yes a portion of the books will be donated to the library. In another thread I had some great advice on how to get rid of all of them and someone kindly pointed out that many books would be overwhelming for any ONE place. I had planned on donating mostly my parenting/birth/breastfeeding/homeschool type books to them because they have such a very, very small selection in those categories. But now that you have pointed out that the donation may be a good stepping stone I think I will probably need to balance those books out with a wide variety of "other" topic books as well, less I come across... I dont know... preachy or something. What do you think? How many books would look good vs. overwhelming for them? Keep in mind it is a very small library.
post #4 of 33
I've read in the past that libraries aren't really all that fond of donations unless they just happen to have more space than books. Here at least, that's usually not the case. If you search the catalogues for a lot of the city libraries here you'll often see "stack" instead of "shelf/checked-in" which means that it's in storage somewhere and you'll need to ask them to get it for you. So what I'm saying is that yes, too many books would be overwhelming.
Cookies sound great
We got lucky with our local library. The main librarian is lovely and adores kids, even noisy ones Unfortunately it's only open part-time Right now the main branch is closed for renovations so our branch is open fulltime with the librarians from the main branch and they are not so nice I'm happy I don't have to remember when the library will actually be open but DD is always disapointed when we get there and they are not so friendly to her.
Have you thought of asking the library what subject areas they would appreciate donations in?
post #5 of 33
We are enormous fans of the library --and we have built a relationship over a course of years. I think the important part is being there.

The situations with libraries in the US isn't good funding is way down and libraries are closing.

Our local libraries love donations, their Friends Associations hold booksales and make good money for the library each year.

We bring our librarians treats (organic oranges and chocolate at Christmas) we pay our fines and we are respectful --quiet, we return books clean-- we ask the librarians for help!

The library is our largest home schooling resource!!

Good luck
post #6 of 33
The way we developed a good relationship with our tiny local library is through them seeing us there frequently. We go to storytime every Monday and make a point of making small talk with the librarians. We stop by other times through the week to pick up books that we've put on hold or requested online.

We've never made donations or baked cookies (although we had planned to bring treats by around Christmas; it just didn't come together). They just see us a lot, see our kids growing, etc.
post #7 of 33
I think in this day and age, learning someone's name and using it goes a very long way. Greeting them with their name and learning a little something about them is always nice. Do they have kids? How old? This works just about anywhere...the bank, the grocery store etc.
I also agree with being very respectful of library rules and returning books in good condition etc. I don't see how you can go wrong if you do that.
Btw, I'm all about breaking stereotypes, which it sounds to me is the underlying message of your family at the library....like "don't judge a book by it's cover"
(well that was appropriate wasn't it. lol)
post #8 of 33
I will ditto others, being kind and respectful and there often.
post #9 of 33
On donating books to the library, usually they don't take the books for their collection, unless it is in really good condition and needed. But most libraries accept the book for their Book Sales, since everyone's budget is being cut.
post #10 of 33
Being there and being a good library patron, absolutely. Bringing them a plate of brownies once in a while doesn't hurt, LOL!
post #11 of 33
Maybe I've just been lucky, but in multiple countries, I've had great luck with all my librarians! I think frequenting the library, especially in off hours when they have more free time, commenting on changes and new materials, saying thanks for activities they set up, etc. I also make sure my kids (4 and 2) know our librarians' names and they both go in excited to greet them... whose heart doesn't melt at a little kid barreling at them, happy to see them?
post #12 of 33
Just go, and go often. Yes, some people can make assumptions about a person because of their looks. But really once they get to now you and your kids they won't see the Mohawks they'll see kids who love to read and research etc. We go to our library often, and all the children's librarians now both my kids names. They make us feel so welcome, and we don't live in a small town not at all. I think it's just that not too many families go as often as we do. When your kids are old enough they could volunteer to help put books back on the shelves or locate hold items.
post #13 of 33
We have a small library as well and a collection of some of the States grouchiest librarians. I do not know what happens behind the scenes at our local library, but it must be something akin to daily torture to explain the sour attitude of the people working there.

That said, my little homeschooling family has broken through to a couple of the folks and we have developed a decent relationship. It has taken time, careful attention and thick skin. We are excellent patrons, donate books and money to the annual fundraiser and behave very well when we visit the library.

Take the time to get to know people, be polite, and you'll be fine.
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by SashaBreeze View Post
What do you think? How many books would look good vs. overwhelming for them? Keep in mind it is a very small library.
I think this is a good opportunity to have a friendly conversation with them about all the books you have and how you'd love to donate to them however many they'd like and whatever kind. That was the part I was thinking of when I made the suggestion - the personal contact. Library book sales are a pretty big deal around where I live - with volunteers who specialize in setting them up. Lillian
post #15 of 33
I've had really good experiences with libraries as a homeschooler. When we lived in the US, we were at our local library at least once a week - they knew we were homeschoolers and loved that my kids came in knowing what they wanted to learn about and would ask for help finding resources. All the librarians and other library employees really loved reading and learning and loved helping to inspire kids to care about books and libraries. If my kids were in there asking for books about X topic and they found something after we left, they would often set it aside for us for the next time. I think just being friendly and respectful, and asking for help (especially in the off hours) finding resources goes a long way. People don't become librarians for the "great" pay and the "glory." They do it because they have a love for it, and passing down that love to children is usually a big priority for them. I doubt you'll have a problem as long as you're nice - they might think you're weirdos, but that might not be a problem
post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stacey B View Post
On donating books to the library, usually they don't take the books for their collection, unless it is in really good condition and needed. But most libraries accept the book for their Book Sales, since everyone's budget is being cut.
YEP.

Ours looves books for their sale.

we are dear freinds with the director at our little lib. Very small. we talk to her, we go to the events, the kids talk to her, ...just like being freinds with anyone else.
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post
We have a small library as well and a collection of some of the States grouchiest librarians. I do not know what happens behind the scenes at our local library, but it must be something akin to daily torture to explain the sour attitude of the people working there.

That said, my little homeschooling family has broken through to a couple of the folks and we have developed a decent relationship. It has taken time, careful attention and thick skin. We are excellent patrons, donate books and money to the annual fundraiser and behave very well when we visit the library.

Take the time to get to know people, be polite, and you'll be fine.
Us, too. We have a couple librarians that your would assume are secretly demons in human-suits. But others that are great. I also need to clear out some books and always donate some to the library fundraiser. Good luck, OP!
post #18 of 33
In addition to being a good responsible library patron, going frequently, and being friendly, I'd suggest getting involved in some of the kid's programs they might have going on. Our library has tons of programs and events for kids (many of which are funded by book sales ), particularly in the summer. Yesterday they had a bluegrass concert! We have gotten to know many of the librarians quite well from participating in those things.
post #19 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the wonderful advice and insight into the situation.

So it seems like it all comes down to what I was taught as a kid "If you want to make friends, be friendly."

My boys can be kind of loud so I think for the next couple of months I will have dh drop me and the girls off for half an hour or so while he takes the boys to the park. During that time I will find out what books they would want/need.

And who knows... maybe by Christmas it will be cookie time!
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThisCat View Post
In addition to being a good responsible library patron, going frequently, and being friendly, I'd suggest getting involved in some of the kid's programs they might have going on. Our library has tons of programs and events for kids (many of which are funded by book sales ), particularly in the summer. Yesterday they had a bluegrass concert! We have gotten to know many of the librarians quite well from participating in those things.
Totally agree! Our library has some great programs, just starting the summer reading program- Luke is soooo very excited.

Also, our kid's library has a play area and I make sure that we don't leave a mess and if other's leave messes after storytime we try to help clean it up.
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