Ways to Maximize Your Library's Welcome Kit

Memorial Hall LibraryDean Baumeister at Memorial Hall Library in Andover, Massachusetts talks about ways to maximize a library's welcome kit.

Hello Dean! Please tell us about Memorial Hall Library's welcome kit; I'm curious to hear what you include.
While welcome kits certainly aren't unique to MHL, we do a few things that other libraries might enjoy knowing about. We include a library-branded tote bag - either green or blue - with each kit. These are generously paid for by our Friends of Memorial Hall Library group. New patrons often react quite positively when being given a bag for their books, and they sometimes request more information about services highlighted in our kits.

Library Welcome KitHow do you communicate what your library has to offer via the welcome kit?  
For us, the contents change often, depending on the season and whether there are any major upcoming events or new services we want to highlight. Among other things, we currently include:

  • a "Welcome to Memorial Hall Library" trifold that has the library's hours, contact information, and an overview of the library's departments, services and collections
  • a brochure that describes the various sources of downloadable and streaming content available through the library
  • a bookmark that highlights some of the databases available to MHL card holders
  • a bookmark that shows upcoming concerts taking place at MHL
  • a card that advertises the book club kits in our network
  • a bookmark that advertises our library's mobile app
  • a trifold that gives information about (and encourages people to join) our Friends group
  • community information, e.g. a voter registration form and town recycling calendars

As I mentioned, we rotate some of these out and replace them with bookmarks or brochures that advertise other offerings (e.g., museum passes available at the library, business equipment for use at the library, our local historic newspapers collection, upcoming book sales, our "Library of Things" collection, etc.)

Library Gift BagsAlso, just before and after the holiday season, we offer little gift-wrapped packages of printed information on how to download books and media on different electronic devices. These instructional packages serve as helpful accompaniments to many of the devices people receive as gifts at the holidays.

What a great way of sharing everything the library has to offer with people. Truly, what a gift! If you had to narrow it down, what would you say is the biggest benefit of your welcome kit?
It's a hassle-free way of giving people who are already in the building the rundown of (nearly) all the things the library can do for them and hopefully helps make what is often a person's initial encounter with the library a positive one.

When my co-workers and I visit other libraries for work or pleasure, we often come back with examples of what they are giving out to their new patrons to see if it makes sense for us to do something similar. 

Thank you for sharing your ideas here with us Dean! 

Does your library have an idea - big or small - to share?
We would love to hear it!

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Such Kindness by Andre Dubus III