Approaching Potential Library Partners: Be Prepared

Partnerships can expand your library’s impact and value. Collaborating to reach shared goals just makes sense, but reaching out to new partners can be intimidating. Here’s advice from Infopeople instructor Cathy Hakala-Ausperk: “One of cathy_hakala_ausperkthe most common mistakes libraries make initially when approaching potential partners is ambiguity. “What do you want from us?” “Why should we help you?” and “What’s the point?” are common responses to vague, poorly presented requests for help. While these approaches may be well-intentioned, they’re often the quick result of a broad idea to “ask them for money.” With that approach, businesses and groups that are also struggling will be understandably defensive and protective – and will often just turn you down flat.

But that doesn’t have to be the response, if you do some preparatory work before your library is ready to go looking for help through partnerships. How? Plan projects that will intrigue, rather than intimidate, potential library partners.

  • First, make sure the project solves a real problem.
  • Second, make sure the project offers a real solution.
  • Third, make sure that solution is realistic and achievable.”

Learn more with Cathy in the upcoming Infopeople course, Developing Effective Library Partnerships. Registration is open now. Course begins November 18.

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