Crown College in St. Bonifacius, MN, is a Films On Demand subscriber. We recently talked with Kathleen McBride, library public services manager at Crown College, about how her library makes the most out of its budget, uses social media, and more.
What do you think is the library’s most important responsibility at your institution?
The library’s most important responsibility at Crown College is to provide quality resources for each program of study, and instruction on the retrieval of the most relevant of those resources for our patrons’ informational needs.
Tell us how you are making the most out of your library budget in these uncertain economic times.
Our print resources are mainly acquired in lieu of using ILL. If a patron requests an item from another library, we evaluate whether or not it would be good to purchase the item, and, if so, we order it on Amazon instead of borrowing it from the other library. The item usually comes before an ILL request would have been filled. Instead of purchasing books that possibly could be needed sometime in the future, we are purchasing titles that are specifically requested by our library patrons. This frees up finances to invest in our electronic holdings.
Since we had cuts in staff, we rely heavily on our student workers for jobs that used to be done by professionals. In order to succeed, we give our students in-depth preliminary and ongoing training. If there’s something I’m asked to troubleshoot, I don’t do it alone. I call in whatever students are on duty to show them how as well. Next time, I may ask them to do the troubleshooting while I watch. Initially this takes longer, but in the end it frees me up for other responsibilities that student workers cannot do.
What role does social media play in your relationship with your patrons?
We have a Facebook page and an Instagram account. Our college also has a content marketing department that focuses on engaging through social media. If the library is hosting a special event, or if we have a giveaway, we will advertise it on our Facebook page.
Look at your library from the view of your patrons. Evaluate your services from the perspective of a student, a professor, and as a public patron. If something isn’t being used, find out why. If it is outdated, get rid of it; good quality material may be hiding in the midst of outdated material. If it’s hard to find, make it easier to find—this may mean further training or providing resource guides to facilitate the use of material. If it is difficult to use, it won’t get used. Make it easier to use, or get rid of it to invest in what will be used.