Thursday, September 13, 2012

Event Planning @ the Library

Library prevents, non-city, non-library events in building.  (Watertown Daily Times, 9/13/2012)

Excerpt:  Library Director Barbara J. Wheeler complained that her staff has to stay past hours to supervise outside events and lock up the building afterward. She said receptions often produce residual food odors, and users don’t always clean up after their events. 

“It’s just not our job to be wedding planners and event planners,” she said. 

Board member Maxine M. Quigg was not at the meeting but sent an email pleading against the policy. She said she believes the library has gained patrons through weddings and events, and the library is a center for the community. 

Yes, Maxine, a center, not a doormat.

According to the article, this service brought in $2,000 in revenue in 2011,  not enough to cover costs, I imagine.  I hope that Wheeler documented the staff time required and specific duties involved in her staff's after-hours supervision and clean-up..

Here's a summary for the year 2010 of the Boston Public Library's experience of hosting weddings.  (Love among the volumes, Boston Globe, 8/14/2011)

Weddings and other special events brought in $825,000 last year but netted only $220,000 after expenses that include providing extra custodians and security onsite, utility costs, and salaries for the events office. Still, that additional revenue bought new check-out machines and helped fund the new computer center. 

Event planning @ the library is no picnic, but it can be a successful venture, although not when it's squarely placed on the backs of library staff.  It needs to be a separate operation, its own department, so to speak.

One final comment.

Anyone who works (or worked) in a library that welcomes outside, no-library-connection-whatsoever events (parties, showers, receptions) knows that some groups tend to be _____________,  Based on my experience at Middleton, I can reel off a half dozen adjectives with the snap of a finger.

1 comment:

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