This past weekend my supervisor and I attended Project Back to School, which is a program that provides free school supplies, immunizations and hearing/vision tests to lower income students. In order to get these freebies, however, students and their families must first visit a number of booths staffed by local organizations, and we were there to represent the library. Not only was this a great outreach opportunity (we handed out a lot of library applications), but it was also a great networking opportunity for us, seeing as there were a good number of exhibitors, from AT&T to United Way.
To the younger children, we handed out Target bags full of coloring books, pencils, and library card applications, and to the older kids, we handed out pencils, erasers and key chains along with the applications. Our most popular giveaway, however, were library pencil bags that were filled with school supplies, bookmarks, and gift certificates to Applebees, Pizza Hut, and Whataburger. These were given to everyone 18 years of age or under until we ran out (which took about 15 minutes).
All in all, it was definitely a productive day: We got to smooze with other organizations (the local beauty school gave us free shampoo and conditioner!), get library card applications into the hands of some future patrons, and even say hi to a few of our regulars. We will definitely be doing this again next year!