Whether we’re ordering materials, planning programs, generating publicity, or even selecting furniture, it’s pivotal for us to know the folks we’re attempting to serve. “If you build it, they will come”… but only if it appeals to them!
I’m lucky enough to host a ‘tween knitting circle once a week during the school year. Because I see the same knitters week after week, this group has become an unofficial advisory board; I often run ideas past them or ask them, “Which would be cooler?” when deciding between potential programs. The patrons in this group are honest, hilarious, and extremely helpful. As much as I hate to admit it, many years have passed since my own ‘tweenhood, and the things I think will appeal to this age group are often way off base. Having a group of actual ‘tweens who are willing to tell me what they like is invaluable.
A few months ago, a couple of the ‘tweens in our knitting circle started following me on Pinterest, and I followed them back. My Pinterest account functions almost entirely as a way for me to organize library-related links, so although it is a personal account, I consider it an extension of my professional life.
Pinterest has allowed me to get to know a few members of my target audience in a whole new way, by seeing their pins and the way they organize items. It has also given them the opportunity to have a sneak peek at projects I’m considering for library programs and let me know what they think.
This fall, our knitting circle will be starting up again– but only for five weeks. For the following five weeks, we’ll shift our focus to making little felt animals, a project that I had been considering for a while but was confirmed as a solid choice when I noticed the prevalence of cute little animals and soft sewn crafts on the ‘tweens’ Pinterest boards. I’m looking forward to more Pinterest patron inspiration in the future!