This National Library Outreach Day we would like to highlight the valuable work that our many outreach workers do every day to meet our patrons where they are — whether it’s out in the community or in the comfort of their own home!
In addition to outreach that our branch library staff do in their communities, we have a dedicated outreach team that serves all five counties of our library district. It includes two Bookmobiles, our unique Mail Order Library, our Latinx Outreach team, and our virtual programming and story time services. They are a vital part of NCW Libraries’ mission of providing valuable resources to the people of North Central Washington.
We know that not everyone can make it to one of our physical libraries. Some people are home bound, some live too far away, and some don’t feel comfortable being in public spaces. Our outreach workers allow traditionally underserved people to visit a bookmobile (a library on wheels!) in their rural communities, or to receive library materials at home through the mail, or to watch a story time on the computer rather than in a group setting.
We hope you appreciate these services as much as we appreciate the staff who perform them every day!
NCW Libraries has two bookmobiles that serve NCW — our North Bookmobile serves Okanogan and Ferry counties while our South Bookmobile serves Chelan, Douglas and Grant counties.
They visit schools, senior homes, a day care center for adults with developmental disabilities, and rural communities that don’t have libraries. They are also starting to return to community festivals and events. One of our bookmobiles recently set up at the Entiat Kite Festival, and will ride in the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival parade in May.
“We start our day very early at 6:30 AM. We hit the road after loading library materials and patron requests into the Bookmobile. Our first stop is to fuel up and then it’s off to a preschool or school. We present a story time and students check out library books. Then we might be off to another school for checkouts and book talks, a senior center or a day center for young adults with developmental disabilities. We usually finish our days at a Community Stop before heading back to the garage. During the Spring and Summer, you might see us roll through a community parade or at your local event on Saturdays.” ~ Elizabeth, Bookmobile Associate
Mail Order Library
A typical day in mail order starts at 7:00 a.m. with our staff sorting and checking out materials to patrons and then packaging them up for mailing. They send out 200 to 400 items every day that are delivered by mail to people’s homes. Last year, they sent out more than 43,000 packages of library materials!
Our Mail Order Library was the first of its kind when it started in 1968 and continues to be a valued service that we offer to all library patrons.
“Although we do not see our patrons face to face, we enjoy forming connections via phone and email. We especially enjoy making those personal connections with patrons and hearing all about their latest discoveries through the library or how much they appreciate that the mailorder library is an option!” said MaryLou, Mail Order Library Manager. “It’s such an honor to be a part of something so unique and that’s offered to all of our patrons.”
Latinx Outreach & Virtual Story Times
This school year, our Latinx Outreach staff are doing 13 live virtual story times with preschools and elementary schools each week, and are reimagining their services to reach new audiences now that pandemic restrictions are easing. In addition, our librarians continue to offer a weekly virtual story time for young library patrons that includes stories, music and movement to help foster their early development and love of reading.