By Ron Schermacher
One of the difficulties that library staff experiences relates to how we market our programs to the communities we serve. Getting the word out can be tricky, and we often hear, “I didn’t know you did that” about our programs and services.
Ron Schermacher, Ignacio Community Library’s service desk manager and IDEA LAB facilitator, writes the Shelf Life column this month about more of what ICL offers.
Libraries today are constantly working to improve service to their communities. At Ignacio Community Library, one of the ways we are trying to meet this goal is through coaching the public in career and technology skills.
This idea is transformed into action in several different activities.
First, there are regularly scheduled times when you can bring in your question about anything you want help to find or advance your career. If your question concerns the use of a computer or software, you may bring in your computer or use one of ours. We even have laptops available for checkout. Several community members have taken advantage of this opportunity to get help with creating or formatting their resumé. And the truth is, you do not need to come in during these scheduled times, as you can always make an appointment to meet with technology staff.
Next, there is the IDEA LAB, Ignacio Community Library’s digital media lab. The IDEA LAB is chock-full of equipment and software, enabling anyone with initiative to work, learn and master new skills needed to prepare for the modern workplace. Here, you can practice with graphic arts programs such as Inkscape and Gimp. You can learn computer animated design on TinkerCad and Blender. You can prototype your designs on our 3D printer while learning to navigate the software required to operate this fabricating equipment. You can learn video and audio editing, electronics and coding and more. The list is truly impressive for this small community. Access to the IDEA LAB is achieved by making a reservation for the space, and more importantly, arranging for a coach if you need lessons in a particular process or program.
Finally, the library is exploring how we can better serve our community in connecting the skills of individuals to the needs of businesses and the public.
Taking a cue from internet sites like freelancer.com and upwork.com, the Ignacio Community Library would post the skills and abilities of participants in one column and the needs and jobs of participants in another column. Interested parties could then choose from the appropriate column depending on their situation and contact the individual who could use their help or fulfill their requirements to complete a job or task.
This is a community project. What ideas do you have to better coordinate the library’s efforts to increase the public’s career and technology skills? What ideas do you have to make Ignacio Community Library a more useful space for the future? The library staff is truly interested in your input.
Ron Schermacher is Ignacio Community Library’s service desk manager and IDEA LAB facilitator.