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18 August 2005 

I've heard that an academic library and a public library are worlds apart; "different clientele" calls for different services. I would argue that it is important for a public library to make a small attempt to coax those students from the "academic world" to use the public library. To me, they are the future workforce, so why not get to know them sooner?

Your public library might already have programs to prepare kids to go to college (If not, that might be a good program to start up). The problem that arises is how to get the word out about these programs? Do you put up flyers? Put it in the newsletter? Post it on your website? All three are good things to do, but I would suggest tapping into an already existing network that heavily interacts with the kids who they are applying to college - the career counselors.

Now, there are ways of getting in touch with career counselors. You could call individual schools and ask to speak with them. Or, you could get in touch with "Outreach Counselors" at your financial aid government agency. Outreach Counselors spend most of their time visiting schools, speaking about paying for college, talking to individual students, etc. You could have one of them come in and give a monthly or bi-monthly workshop. In addition to their benefits as a program, the Outreach counselors should also maintain a listing of the high school career counselors within the area.

By getting in touch with the career counselors, you have a means to disseminate information about your library's services to college-bound kids. This should help bolster attendance at the program and provide a means to advertise other relevant programs. This can be arduous task to get together, but completely worth it .

By the way, as far as when to contact the high school counselors, it might be a good idea to get in touch with them early in the school year (when they are less stressed!).