Library Hack: Around Town

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 6:00 am

Library Hack: Around Town By Jane Baker | Spokane County Library DistrictBy Jane Baker

This fall, the Spokane County Library District added a small but helpful feature to our website called, Around Town. This new feature is designed help you hear about events and news happening in your neighborhood.

The District has 10 libraries outside of the City of Spokane that are located in areas that are distinct communities or incorporated small towns. Community events and news in these areas are often overshadowed by things happening in the City of Spokane. Sometimes people are more aware of what’s happening in downtown Spokane than in their own communities. In the past, areas like Fairfield and Otis Orchards had their own newspapers, but due to technology and various other factors, these smaller areas have lost some of their traditional communication channels. Even communities that still have local newspapers, such as Deer Park, Cheney, and Spokane Valley, often struggle with readership as more people look to the Internet for information.

Due to our locations and involvement with local communities, the Library District is in a unique position to help share community-specific information. By no means does the District plan or have the ability to provide the amount of information comparable to a newspaper or other media source; however, we can help share a little information about local events and connect people with their neighbors.

The idea to create the Around Town feature came about a couple of years ago when the District was holding community conversations as part of our strategic planning process. Library staff heard from residents in several different communities who had a desire to know what’s going on in their community, but didn’t have an outlet to find information about local events. Each of our libraries have community bulletin boards for posting flyers and notices, so we thought: Why not include some of this information on an online bulletin board, as well?

Community librarians enter and update a short post on the individual location pages of the Library District website on a regular basis. Events you will see include neighborhood gatherings, new business announcements, news from business chambers and council meetings, community parades, school plays, etc. These are the things that may be happening around the corner or down the street, but you may not hear about on the news or in the paper.

Library Hack: Around Town By Jane Baker | Spokane County Library District   Library Hack: Around Town By Jane Baker | Spokane County Library District

For example, clicking on the Argonne Library location page will not only let you know about what’s happening at that library, but also something that’s going on in Millwood such as last weekend’s tree lighting. For Airway Heights, the annual Winterfest event was mentioned, and in Medical Lake it was the Wreaths Across America ceremony at the Veterans Cemetery. Even those living in areas near the Spokane city limits will find events in their communities. Last week, the Moran Prairie Library page listed an art exhibit inspired by the recent windstorm at a South Hill art studio and gallery, and the Spokane Valley Library page helped spread the word about the Valley Business Chamber’s meeting for public input on its strategic plan. All great events that you may not hear about in the Spokesman or Inlander, and perhaps didn’t make the deadline for the Valley’s monthly newspaper, The Current.

While we hope that you find this new feature helpful and localized, it’s worth mentioning that we aren’t the only place to find out about area events. The Spokesman and the Inlander both have extensive online calendars that you are able to filter and sort to find things happening in your neighborhood. A couple of the TV stations do, as well. While we don’t have the capacity to cover everything like these media outlets, we do have local libraries that are active and involved in their respective communities. Small hubs of information and connections—that is why libraries are more than just books.

Jane Baker

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