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Getting staff involved with Read@MPL

Milwaukee Public Library
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Innovation Leader: Christine Arkenberg, Central Library Manger, carken@milwaukee.gov

Problem Statement

A core group of five reference staff members from the Central Library created the book blogs for Read@MPL. After two years, the group recognized that a broader base would be very helpful in keeping Read@MPL fresh.

Innovation

Each staff member was invited to participate and contribute to the blog. Maintenance, Administration, Tech Services and every unit in the Library were provided basic guidelines and encouraged to provide reviews, in rough or polished condition, to the blog leader at Central. Work units were provided with a specific month in which to submit book information to keep the flow of reviews coming throughout the year. Reminders were issued as their month approached. Entries were edited if necessary and posted with the contributor’s first name and last initial.

Progress

The program has been a success. The number of contributors has grown to 48 and the number of posts to the blog has more than doubled. The wide varieties of reading interests that have been shared enriched the blog. While the focus remains primarily on adult reading material, young adult titles with broader appeal have been added. It was also agreed that an occasional children’s title would be included if it was of great interest to grandparents, the general public and people who would not normally visit MPL’s kids pages on the website for book information. In addition to responding to the designated months, staff is contributing more often. The inclusion of all non-reference and reference staff has provided very welcome support. In this case it was true: you just have to ask.