Dean Frey, Red Deer Public Library
“the best way to fast-track 2.0 in your library is to submit a presentation and get it accepted and then realize you need to have something to show.” Heh. Presentation in book has more links and “is better for you, but this one’s more fun.”
Red Deer, according to 2006 federal census, is “most average” Canadian community. “So you don’t need to learn anything else about Canada, because we represent it all. When you visit Canada, you should just visit Red Deer.” Established 1914, population of 85,000, two branches, 45 FTE, $4 million budget. Began to addresss underserved market segments in the late 1990s — seniors, teens, aboriginal population, low-income families, new Canadians, persons with disabilities — using technology to connect people. “It’s our job. If we’re not doing this, we’re not doing our job.”
Moving up the ladder of communication: community engagement is about providing information, consultation, deciding together, acting together, and supporting independent community interests. Works for all groups, particularly for underserved groups.
Election Forum: Interactive online space for candidates in the October 15, 2007 municipal election. Did it in 2004, but in 2007 made it more interactive. Library did set-up, supplied moderator, and supplied bloggers to ensure that candidates focused on issues of interest to community. Very good and successful way to “support independent community interests” by connecting residents to the election process in a way they couldn’t before. Built strong connections — throughout the community — and 25% of voters visited the blogs.
Using community feedback to bring other projects forward, based on needs in their user base, and the desire to reach out. Community development is not new — using web 2.0 tools to allow a complete feedback loop is new, and works very well.
Question from the audience — did you Community development hire need to be a librarian? Answer: No. But the MLS is helpful, and any MLS we here from here on out will have to be a Community Development librarian. We all will; we will only be hiring people who can work with our community in that direct way, no matter if it’s public services or technical services or something else.