New campaign kicks off
— So what do you geek?
That is the question being asked by officials from the Wayne County Public Library — and they are very serious.
"What do you geek?" is the theme of a six-month long campaign in which local library officials are trying to get the word out about what the library offers.
But even more importantly, according to library executive director Molly Rodgers, they want to know what the public seeks from their libraries.
"It is geek in the sense of getting people to talk about what they are passionate about," said Rodgers.
The promotion is part of a larger national program which has primary sponsorship from The Gates Foundation.
Rodgers said it is important for officials at the library to understand what people are interested in, no matter the subject.
"Whatever your love, the library supports you," said Rodgers.
Those interests can be anything. Music. Barbecue. Small business. Worms. Black holes.
The list is endless.
Rodgers said the concept is also designed to "have a conversation about libraries in the 21st century."
Libraries, said Rodgers, have changed dramatically with the onset of online availability. No longer do people have to go to the library to benefit from its services.
"We are where you are," said Rodgers. "At your convenience."
For example, she said the Wayne County Library system now has 32 e-magazines available for its patrons.
"With a bar code number you can link and borrow all of these magazines," she said.
In the past, Rodgers said the library would get one print copy of a magazine and if someone checked it out, "it is gone. Now, everyone can read it and there are never any overdue fines."
The magazines stay in your account until they are deleted by the patron. And there is no cost, to boot.
She said library officials have tried to find a huge variety of online magazines to draw a wide ranging audience.
Some of the titles include Consumer Reports, Forbes, Motor Trend, Martha Stewart Weddings, Mac World, Seventeen, Taste of Home and Yoga Journal.
Rodgers said the library launced the program in the hopes "people will tell us what we are missing."
She said the library cannot afford all magazine titles but they are willing to change the lineup if the desire from the public exists.
She also said people can donate to the library and specify magazines to share with everyone.
Another part of the effort is to attract younger people to the library so they can understand exactly what services are offered.
"The younger generation is so connected," she said, noting social media, smart phones and just about any other electronic device you can imagine.
The geek program also has a visual component with posters and T-shirts. Rodgers said posters are going up throughout the county and they can even be localized.
The same is true for T-shirts. Persons can specify what they "geek" and that can be printed on a T-shirt. It takes a minimum order of 12 to get T-shirts. They are $12 each.
The library has also been able to secure some grant funding and billboards will be going up this summer as part of the promotion.
They also plan to do promotions on the radio and The Wayne Independent has agreed to feature a "Geek of the Week" on its front page once a week as part of the campaign.
Rodgers said they plan to participate in many community events and those will include a "geek board," where local residents can write down what they geek.
"There might be some things in Wayne County we don't have a lot on," said Rodgers.
If that is the case, the library can make adjustments and get more materials on those subjects.
"It is also a way of telling us what we need to do to support the community," said Rodgers.
All seven libraries in the Wayne County system are included in the geek program. Those are libraries in Lakewood, Pleasant Mount, Bethany, Honesdale, Hawley, Hamlin and Newfoundland.
Rodgers said toward the latter part of the campaign, library officials will then begin a discussion about library funding.
"We are struggling because the demand is there but the funding is not there," said Rodgers.
She also said most people don't know how libraries are funded in Pennsylvania and that is going to be part of the discussion.
If you would like more information about the promotion go to geekthelibrary.org or visit the local website at waynelibraries.org.