I can't tell you how happy it made me to see a headline with the words "Library" and "Hip" without any negatives in between.
Here you'll see another basic article about libraries being more popular due to hard times. And it called you "hip"!! YES!!
Not to be a buzzkill, but -- well, OK, this next bit defintely will be a buzzkill. Stop reading now if you can't deal with it.
I'm thrilled that people are using libraries more, and even more thrilled at all the recent media coverage. BUT let's think ahead here -- what are we going to do when the economy recovers? Will all of these new patrons turn out to be just temporary patrons? Will we lose them once they have more money to buy their own books and pay to see movies? Will they stop visiting once they no longer need your computers to post their resumes online??
Let's be proactive and start thinking now about ways to prove that we're worth patronizing even when people's wallets are healthier. How?
1. For starters, once you have people's attention, don't let them get away without telling them about other cool stuff you have. Can you give them a brochure that lists all your services? (Wait, when was the last time you updated that brochure?) Can you put that same list of offerings onto your public access PCs so it's in front of users' eyes? Better yet, ask a visitor what he's interested in, then offer to SHOW him what you have for his benefit.
2. Are you registering these folks for cards, gathering their email addresses, and getting them to opt in for your newsletter or email blasts?
3. Are you inviting them to Friend you in your social networks?
4. Are you making sure they have info about your live programs? Try to bring them back for a happier activity than filling in job apps online.
5. Are you building a sense of community?
There are lots of things to do to show this new crop of visitors why you're worth coming back to even after they get better jobs. I know it's tough now when you're busy serving more people with fewer resources, but DO NOT overlook these opportunities. This resurgence won't last forever and we need to make the most of this crisis-based opportunity.
One more thing: note the very vanilla quotes in this article. If you are interviewed by the media, could you say something a little catchier? We all know that reporters will pull out whatever bits they want to use, but again, think ahead. Have a couple of talking points ready, and tie them into the basic quote the reporter is looking for. "Yes, we have seen a spike in computer usage, and we hope to experience even more growth when our visitors discover that we also have..."
What are YOU doing to keep your newfound users??