Kayleigh’s Corner: March 2018

I sat down with Columbus mom blogger Julie Miller to uncover what type of library programs attract parents, discuss social media tips, and learn how to promote to bloggers. Julie is a Wooster, Ohio native, who started her career in the library world, working summers at the Wayne County Library while in college. Julie started her blog What Should We Do Today? after becoming a full-time stay at home mom, and has been featured on NBC News 4, Columbus Moms Blog, and CAP4KIDS. She turned her adventurous personality, willingness to try new things, and writing into a passion. Her blog has over 21,000 monthly views and 10,000 unique visitors each month. Her well-researched writing has helped hundreds of Columbus families find fun, family-friendly activities to fill their calendars. 

Julie and I chatted about what would attract parents, like her, to pack up the kids and head across town to the library. “Moms go to the library for an outing. They don’t just go to the library to pick up a book and go home” Julie says. Parents find libraries appealing when they contain children’s areas full of educational toys and activities where the child is able to pretend and imagine. “I feel this is how kids really learn, through make believe” Julie adds. Julie highlighted local libraries that her boys love  in her engaging articles, Two Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids and Two MORE Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids.

This concept of adding more hands-on activities to your library can also be applied to tween and teen groups. Providing arts and crafts programs or having a makerspace, allows older children to learn communication and critical thinking skills, while taking a break from their screens.

Exploring Julie’s blog I was curious to know how she found all these unique events that attract families of all shapes and sizes. “Through Facebook” Julie states. “I sign up for regular emails from different places, search Instagram, check libraries’ and metro park’s websites and some even promote their event directly to me. I use a wide range of places but a lot of it is online.” Julie suggest that if you have an event to promote at your library, be sure to add it to Facebook, as that is the fastest and easiest way busy families can learn about your event. “If it’s not online, it’s like it doesn’t exist” Julie states. “Always go a step further and make an actual event on Facebook. Then people can follow it and receive updates and notifications if something changes. Plus, librarians can get a good idea of how many people are interested.” 

When promoting online Julie’s best advice is to include as much information as you can. “People want to know is it a drop-in event, can you come and go, does it start at a certain time, what age range is this appropriate for, and what are we going to be doing. I think the more they know what to except, the more comfortable they are to walk into something new.”

Connecting with local bloggers like Julie in your area to promote your events and programs can be a great resource for reaching new audiences. Julie encourages her network to share events with her. However, when reaching out to bloggers, do your research first as not all blog posts are created equally. “Be respectful of bloggers that do have sponsored posts and rates,” Julie advises.

Libraries provide families the opportunity to get out and do something different. By offering a wide range of activities that are family-friendly as well as age group focused, you will see both new and familiar patrons walking through your doors.

Julie Miller is a Wooster, Ohio native whose past jobs include GED teacher, mosaic artist, ACT tutor, and picture framer, to name a few! After getting married and moving to Columbus with her husband Eric in 2008, they helped start Capital City Grace Church. Julie got her Masters of Social Work at OSU and worked for a homelessness prevention program for 5 years before staying home with her then 2 year old. Currently, Julie is the Children’s Ministry Director at her church and blogs about her experiences exploring the city she loves to call home with her sons, who are now 6 and 3. Julie loves trying new recipes and doing creative projects but her most common achievements these days are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and building with Legos! Her favorite things include big cities, coffee, spending time with friends, traveling, and ice cream! You can find lots of fun things to do with your kids around Columbus on her blog, What Should We Do Today?

Kayleigh Hanlin is the Marketing Generalist for JLG. She is the “Jill-of-all-trades,” working not only with other marketing members but several different JLG departments to spread the word about JLG services and outstanding books. She has been an avid reader all her life and currently resides in Columbus, Ohio.