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Being a small mountain community, the Lyons Regional Library District is the technology and information services hub of its area. The district discovered SIPA’s Micro-Grant program while searching for ways to promote and expand the library’s technology services. The district decided that the best way to encourage people to engage with the library’s tech services was to promote them where their community gathered like coffee shops, festivals, concerts and pub trivia nights. By doing this, the library was able to bring the information to residents and encourage people to learn how to use the offerings if they did not already know how. "Giving members of the community the confidence to learn about technology was a major piece to growing our program," said Technology Librarian Ian Hawley. " Once they felt good about using the library as an informational portal, they had the credibility to tell other people to do so."
The outreach program was a huge success! Before the grant, the district had not been seeing high use rates of their website, online catalog or in-library computers. There are now lines for the 5 in-library computers, a higher number of e-books downloaded, double the visitors to their online catalog as well as to their website, and far more one-on-one appointments looking to learn about the technologies available to them.
The SIPA Micro-Grant acts as an arm of SIPA's mission: to assist governments in putting more information and services online. It exists to build bridges between the needs of communities and the proactive projects to support those needs. "Working with the SIPA grant has been great,” said Hawley. “We are a small library with 6 staff members and an incredibly limited budget and the Micro-Grant gave us the opportunity to inform, and continue to inform, our community about our resources and how to utilize them.” The Lyons Regional Library District’s initiative has brought people online, that might not be online otherwise, to use services and access information.
Read the full article here.
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