[Outreach Strategy Notes, 10/31/07]
Questions we set out to answer are underlined.
- 1 What is the mission of the outreach committee?
- 2 Who are our audiences?
- 3 What ongoing outreach actions do we want to continue? What experience of success or failure shall we make use of?
- 4 What new actions do we want to get started? What implications for roles, responsibilities, resources?
- 5 What outcomes do we expect at specific times during the year, and/or at the end of 2008?
What is the mission of the outreach committee?
To familiarize community members with E-tools for community engagement and to make them accessible in both informal and formal ways.
Who are our audiences?
In general, we aim to serve St. Paul residents who are limited in their familiarity or comfort levels with the available E-tools for community engagement. In the near future, we intend to give priority to residents of the Rondo Community while working closely with their community outreach library.
What ongoing outreach actions do we want to continue? What experience of success or failure shall we make use of?
- Tabling will continue at the Rondo Library. It will depend on the current volunteers and other volunteers TBD to make it happen. We will experiment with different times of day and days of the week.
- Workshops will continue at the Rondo Library. We will make it a high priority to improve and sustain at high level the quality of our workshop offerings. We will pay close attention to scheduling and advance publicity in a continued effort to increase participation. We will be open to opportunities to offer workshops at other appropriate venues.
What new actions do we want to get started? What implications for roles, responsibilities, resources?
We have decided upon pursuing the following four actions.
- Organizational improvement. We will establish process to maintain essential records - including but not limited to such things as contact information for key contacts, qualifications and preferences of potential volunteers, various records of lessons learned, and workshop lesson plans. We will establish process for keeping track of and following up on specific actions which we decide to take.
- Youth involvement. We will seek out opportunities to be involved with the younger generation, however defined: middle school, high school, college-age, or young adults. We assume that among this group the need for our basic E-tools offerings may be less than among older people. However, we will look for opportunities to cooperate in mutually helpful ways with other organizations offering community youth programs (SPNN, libraries, YMCA/YWCA, churches), and we will look for opportunities to involve individual young people as volunteers in our work.
- Rondo Library cooperation. We value our working relationship with the Rondo Community Outreach Library. We believe there is great potential for synergy in the area of internet tools education, and we will seek to miss no opportunities in this area.
- Outreach visits to organizations in Rondo neighborhood at large. We will visit a neighborhood organization, community group, or church each week in an effort to reach our audience. We will learn about its mission, history and role in the community and explore ways that we can best collaborate. Should the best way to collaborate would be providing custom-made workshops, the latter would be considered as the need arise as in the case of the Community Workshop initiave section below.
What outcomes do we expect at specific times during the year, and/or at the end of 2008?
We did not specifically address this question at our planning session, October 31, 2007. Other understandings which developed from our planning session, October 31, 2007:
- In the six specific actions listed above, we expect that our CTEP program associate will be involved in all of them. We expect that he will take a major, leading role in all of them with the exception of the tabling activity, which will depend on SPED member volunteers to make it happen. On the other four, he will take responsibility for results, but will take every opportunity to put volunteers to work, and to establish process which will continue to operate after his departure.
- In some cases, including the “action possibilities” listed below, we may decide that it is desirable to do a certain action, but also that the ability to actually do it is contingent on finding a suitable volunteer or volunteers to do the work.
Other action possibilities which were discussed, but which will need more investigation, probably by Tim as SPED chair and/or Rosa Maria as outreach chair, before decisions about action are considered.
- Community workshop initiative. The St. Paul Public Libraries have asked us if we are willing to offer some of our workshops as part of an initiative designed to coincide with the Republican National Convention. We will investigate the possibility of offering one or more of our workshops, either regular scheduled or put on especially for this purpose, as part of the larger citizen engagement program. If we can find appropriate volunteer resources, and can be sure of a quality offering, we would want to take this opportunity. Some decision may be needed fairly soon.
- The 23 Things. A self-teaching initiative which addresses almost exactly the set of tools we intend to work with, developed by Helene Bowers of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) library system. (http://23thingsatapl.blogspot.com/).
- Ramsey County Library cooperation. In response to a recent indication of interest by the Ramsey County Library, conversations with someone there to investigate possibilities of cooperation similar to that already going on in St. Paul.
- Expanded St. Paul Library cooperation. Work with the St. Paul Library liaison to identify promising opportunities to take programs which are being successful in the Rondo Library into other branches of the St. Paul Library.