The Collection All Around: Sharing Our Cities, Towns, and Natural Places

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the author
  • Reviews

Listen to an interview with the author now!

Public libraries' mission, skills, and position in their communities make them ideal facilitators of public access to local resources. In other words, the collection is all around, and libraries can help citizens discover historical, cultural, and natural riches that they might otherwise overlook. Providing smart planning and implementation advice, this guide shows public libraries how to make the most of these outreach opportunities. Using ideas drawn from libraries from around the country, it covers

  • why this type of initiative is important, demonstrating how this model strengthens libraries with regard to community and institutional support;
  • programs for brokering public access to cultural venues via ticketing platforms;
  • using library event calendars to feature the programs and meetings of other city agencies, community organizations, and affiliated institutions;
  • the joint use of library cards as IDs, for banking, and as parking/transit passes;
  • ways that libraries can act as guides to local resources, including such examples of "pathfinding" as historical/cultural walking tours, navigating social services, and providing guidance on government benefits and civic involvement;
  • parklets, crosswalk murals, food truck roundups, and other programs for extending the public library beyond its walls;
  • initiatives for improving access and connections to natural surroundings such as nature-play environments, offsite StoryWalks, nature maps, and circulating outdoor gear and state parks passes; and
  • talking points for new and existing partner buy-in, planning advice for getting started and managing the launch, budgeting guidance, technology considerations, and other helpful tips.

This book offers up dozens of great ways that public libraries can leverage their strengths and enrich their communities.


Introduction    Libraries Take on the World
Chapter One    It Starts with Membership
Chapter Two    City Pass Agents Share the Wealth
Chapter Three    Guides Make It Clear
Chapter Four    Placemakers Bring It Home
Chapter Five    Rangers Tend the Trails
Conclusion    All Together Now


Jeffrey T. Davis

Jeffrey T. Davis is a branch manager with the San Diego Public Library. He has worked in branch and central libraries from the South Bronx (New York City) to downtown San Diego. His previous experience includes collection development and electronic resources management. He is interested in all things library, with a current focus on early learning spaces and the collection all around.

”While Davis provides remarkable and inspiring examples with enough detail to help librarians get started with similar outreaches unique to their communities, perhaps the primary value of this small book is that it will spark other ideas."
— Catholic Library World

"Recommended for outreach librarians seeking new ideas for community partnerships."
— Library Journal

"This book is strongly recommended for public libraries with an interest in and time for exploring opportunities outside of the branch and working on ways to provide access to them. It is an excellent source of ideas and resources for providing your patrons with better access to your community."
— Reference & User Services Quarterly