A. Definition of Outreach
Any library service or program that requires dedicated staff time towards a targeted or specific group of clients or individuals is considered to be a library outreach service event. This may include library tours, story-times, an invitation to a performance program, instruction classes for the library's electronic resources and on-site visits by library staff to schools, organizations or outside meeting places to promote the library's services and collections to its patrons. Additionally, library outreach may consist of participation at outside community fairs and events attended by the public.
B. Goal of Outreach
The library's goal in providing outreach is to promote the library's mission and library services to patrons in the member municipalities of the Mercer County Library System, which include: East Windsor, Ewing, Hightstown, Hopewell Township, Lawrence, Robbinsville, and West Windsor.
C. Requests for Outreach
Requests for outreach from a group or agency should be made to a department head or Branch Manager at the Mercer County Library branch in which the group is physically located. Advanced notice is suggested.
D. Approval of Outreach Services
Several factors may govern the approval of outreach requests. Approval is contingent on availability of staff and/or space accommodation. Priority will be given to groups located in the branch's municipality and those groups that are made up of a majority of individuals who have or can prove eligibility for a resident Mercer County Library card in one of our member municipalities. Proof may be required, such as library card barcode number, or address. Non-profit groups may be given priority. Groups or agencies from non-member municipalities who are requesting outreach may be referred to the library where they are eligible for free library cards. The allocation of staff time and resources dedicated toward outreach will be balanced with all other normal branch services and programming.
E. Frequency of Outreach Services
Frequency of requests may sometimes be limited at the discretion of the Branch Manager. At some branches, outreach to youth is routinely provided during the school year from September through June as staffing permits. In the summer, staff time and branch resources may be dedicated to providing increased services and programs to meet the demands of the library system's high-volume summer reading program and therefore, outreach to groups may be limited. At some locations, pre-arranged summer outreach may be scheduled. Some branches may approve outreach requests to groups, camps or day-cares in the summer based on branch staffing and programming patterns. This is at the discretion of the library system.
F. Group Use of Library Community Rooms
The library's community room policy is separate and distinct from outreach. An eligible group wishing to book a community room for meeting use may do so via the community room registration form, available at any branch, or on our website; https://www.mcl.org
G. General Visit Information
Groups wishing to visit the library for any reason are welcome to do so, observing the normal standards and rules for patron conduct and the system policies. Group leaders are urged to visit the physical setting of a branch before bringing a group in to confirm the necessary seating space around the public areas of the library.
H. Group Attendance from Non-Member Municipalities
Throughout the summer and other peak times throughout the year, there is often strong interest by groups wishing to attend performance and other programs advertised as part of the summer reading program, school holiday, etc. Groups or agencies from non-member municipalities who are requesting to attend these programs may be referred to the library where they are eligible for free library cards.
I. Registration Processes
All advertised processes for registration of library programs should be observed by everyone. In some cases, Friends of the Library sponsored programming may be advertised with a space limit, and with presentation of a valid MCLS library card. Some branches may grant permission for groups to attend summer programs as space permits. Frequency of requests may sometimes be limited at the discretion of the Branch Manager.