By Molly Skeen
Some people use and support the public library, no matter what. They visit the library regularly, borrow books, take the kids to story time, join the Friends, and visit new libraries on vacation. Let's call them the Fans.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are people who never use the library, no matter what. They have their reasons. We could call these the Frosties. Between the two extremes, there's a broad range of library use patterns.
Here are some numbers taken from a 2006 study titled Long Overdue: A Fresh Look at Public and Leadership Attitudes About Libraries in the 21st Century. When asked how many times they visited a library in the previous year, survey respondents replied with these frequencies:
Not at all - 27%
1-5 times - 15%
6-10 times - 11%
11-25 times - 16%
How can we convert library Frosties to Fans? And how can we engage the people who use the library once a year to use it more often? I'm convinced that a great many of the Frosties have needs and interests that could be met at the library, but they are simply unaware of specific services that could help them.
- Take Joe Frosty – a busy guy who works full time, takes the family camping, and likes to tinker with his car. He never uses the library, but maybe he would if he knew that his library provides access to EBSCO's Auto Repair Reference Center on its web site.