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Webster Parish Library hosts workshop for Louisiana librarians

by Minden Press-Herald

Tuesday afternoon, the Webster Parish Library branch in Minden served as a host to librarians throughout northwest Louisiana to meet, share valuable insights, and best practices for librarians to make their summer programs more engaging and accessible.

To help other librarians enhance the impact of summer programs in libraries, Megan Thomas, Youth Consultant for the Louisiana State Library, emphasized the importance of adopting new and innovative ideas to better serve communities.

Thomas began by highlighting the primary objective of the session, stating, “So what we’re here to do today is to teach librarians best practices, ideas, and other general information on how they can make any kind of summer program at their library the best way to serve their community with new and innovative ideas.”

One of the key points Thomas emphasized was the need for librarians to step outside their branches and take their programs directly to the community. She stressed the importance of collaboration with other community agencies to expand the  library’s reach to its local community. “One of the big things I push is getting outside of your branch. I really am encouraging children and teen librarians to take the show on the road. To go to where the citizens are, partner with other community agencies, to bring a whole realistic experience to our communities,” said Thomas.

She urged librarians to explore ways to make their programs more efficient and achievable for community members with limited time. “We talked about how to make programs more efficient, how to make it more achievable for other community members, people who maybe don’t have the time to come into the library and spend lots of time coming to programs,” explained Thomas.

Furthermore, Thomas encouraged residents to explore the diverse summer programs offered by libraries across different parishes. She highlighted the variety of initiatives libraries are taking in their youth programs to incentivize them to read more. “Any parish or any area you’re in, check out what your library is doing during the summer. Webster Parish is doing a discovery camp, other parishes are doing summer reading programs, summer reading bingo, summer reading adventures. There’s a lot of cool things going on that are accessible to people in the community and outside the community for people to attend,” Thomas added.

Thomas’s insights serve as a valuable guide for librarians looking to revamp their summer programs, ensuring they are not only engaging but also accessible to a wider audience within and beyond the community. The collaborative approach and emphasis on realistic experiences promise to make libraries vibrant hubs for learning and exploration during the summer months.

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