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The Library Roadshow

East Baton Rouge Parish Library
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Innovation Summary

"The Library Road Show" is a 30-minute, magazine-style TV show that features news, events, services, and programs available through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library System.

Innovation Leader: Mary Stein, Assistang Library Director, mstein@ebrpl.com

Problem Statement

Our population is severely at-risk in regards to literacy, educational levels, and economic achievement. Up to one-fifth of LA’s adult population functions at the lowest level of literacy. This number holds true for Baton Rouge, in spite of being the capital city of Louisiana, as well as the center of government, business, industry, and higher education. Whereas one in every five homes only has one book it in, one in every two homes here has a television present. So how can the library meet the needs of a diverse population that requires traditional and non-traditional means to reach that population? What better way to push the library brand than a television show. The themes and hosts on the show promote a positive dialogue in our very diverse region. The Library Roadshow gives members of the public, who may otherwise not be aware of all the varied resources that the library offers, a chance to see us in a different light. A unique feature of the show is that it is produced magazine style, and has several small featurettes that give the show a refreshing spin on our local library.

Innovation

The Library Roadshow was created in response to our old show—which feature a lot of talking heads and PowerPoint slides. Though low budget, community members watched the show, and often commented on how refreshing it was to see what the library does besides warehouse books. Now the show boast a beautiful set, a section that highlights kids’ books; a fun, quick craft, branch highlights, and usually several guest visitors. Not only does the show depict programs of the library, but also focuses on a feature of the website and a database. Unlike other shows that are either for adults or for kids, our show is family friendly and a must watch for all ages. Staff can send in book recommendations for the adult book reviews as well.

Progress

Libraries and books are still viable—even in the age of Google and Kindles. As new formats arrive, instead of dropping old ones, like printed books, we simply add the new formats. We have eased off on purchasing expensive, printed reference books in favor of the rich resources we have in our online databases. But patrons in our city did not know of the great things found for Free in their local libraries. This show increases public awareness ten-fold. Not only are we reaching a non-traditional market, we are using technology to make them more aware. People are coming in the Library in droves. Not just to check out books, audiobooks, music and dvds, but to use our free computers and WiFi, take free computer classes, attend thousands of free programs. Groups using our FREE meeting rooms for their community organizations have tripled. Patrons have asked more that 850,000 questions of our Reference Service staff. Teens and kids are coming to the library to receive homework help, and of course, all library patrons are engaging in life-long learning.