At Home service: expanding and promoting to an underserved population
Problem StatementWhile the senior demographic is the fastest growing in Minnesota, library services to this group can prove difficult. Many are homebound or residing in senior residences, such as nursing homes. They are life-long library users who now face a barrier to library use. HCL’s At Home by Mail and At Home by Volunteer programs can serve these seniors, yet another barrier exists: communicating with these customers. Common tactics for promoting library services, such as posters in the library, program guides and other materials, were not effective as these residents do not visit libraries. Online tactics were not effective as many do not have Internet access. How to reach then serve the hard to reach?
InnovationTo reach this under-served population, a plan was developed which involved partnerships with organizations such as Meal on Wheels, print media, and in-person outreach into the senior serving community. The first objective was to increase awareness, which would result in increased enrollment, circulation of library materials, and information requests. A related objective was to increase awareness among staff, administration and stakeholders, resulting in increased support. A final objective was to survey current At Home customers to gather quantitative and qualitative data on value of the program.
The program met output objectives (below) while surveys returned comments about value of the program such as ““I would be lost without this service. It keeps me interested in life.”
|19987||23201||16%||Circulation among At Home by Mail customers|
|4048||11128||175%||Circulation among At Home by Volunteer customers|
|11029||11468||4%||Information requests by At Home by Mail customers|
|375||660||76%||Information requests by At Home by Volunteer customers|
|597||712||19%||Number of At Home by Mail customers|
|61||125||95%||Number of At Home by Volunteer customers|