We’re always trying to think of innovative ways to spread the word about BookPage, but I think the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library in Las Cruces, New Mexico, might take the cake. Starting in mid-January, the library will distribute copies of BookPage on 12 of Las Cruces’ transit buses.

I read about this neat idea in the Las Cruces Sun-News Branigan book notes column, then followed up with Outreach Librarian Mark Pendleton. Below, Mark explains the project.

What programs do you enjoy at your local library? Tell us in the comments.

Why are you offering BookPage on transit buses?
BookPage is a great way to promote the Library, especially with the customized back page where we put a schedule of library events for the month. We distribute BookPage at several other locations around town [besides the Library]—three grocery stores, two used book stores, the City Hall help/information desk, a food co-op, a Middle Eastern deli, market and restaurant, to name a few—and we’re always on the lookout for a new venue to try.

In fact, last September, we started placing BookPage in the 400 welcome packets that the local newcomers’ welcome service gives out each month. We think that the bus riders might enjoy something to read and it seems like a great opportunity to increase the Library’s visibility in the community.

Where will the buses run?
The buses run in Las Cruces and on the New Mexico State University campus.

How many people will be served by this program?
There are about 1,800—2,000 daily trips (one person riding one way) on the buses where the racks will be, so that gives you an idea of how many people will be seeing the BookPage racks.

How did you arrange this project?
We made an arrangement with the transit system. This was helped by the Director of the City’s Public Services Department (of which both the Library and the Transit system are part) being the former Library Director. The head of the Transit system was also in favor of the idea, so that helped, too.

What other projects does the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library have lined up for 2010?
Since July 2008, we have offered a books-by-mail program that allows library patrons to receive their materials through the mail. It is extremely popular (about 1,150 transactions per month) and why not, since we pay the postage both ways. We also have a homebound program that is staffed by volunteers who visit with persons who can’t get out of their homes and get an idea of what they like to read, and then every two weeks, they deliver books and/or audio books to them. This has been going for more than twenty years.

Also, starting sometime in the next month or so, I am going to start another new promotional program. I will talk with the owners and/or managers of several hotels/motels in town and get their okay to place mini-posters about library services and business card-size maps of Branigan Library’s location in their lobbies.

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