Tag Archives: social capital

Diversifying the Portfolio: Expanding the Patron Base of Branch Libraries

By Joel Roberts
Music Librarian
University of Memphis

This essay began as a discussion about the increase in traffic that my branch academic library, which is a music library, experienced between 2016 and 2019. The catalyst for this increase was implementing events and programming that were marketed towards all students, not just music students. The decision to write this up was the result of feedback I received from a poster session that I gave at a conference at the beginning of 2020, a year that proved to be a transitional year for everyone. As a result of how that year progressed, I came close to abandoning this project because I began to view a discussion about the potential for events and programming to create an increase in traffic as irrelevant in an environment where gatherings were ill-advised. Furthermore, reopening after the initial COVID lockdown revealed that far fewer patrons were visiting my library compared to before the pandemic. During the 2021-2022 academic year when students were back on campus in full, our daily traffic average was lower than it had been before COVID. Thus, the gains in traffic that I had witnessed had been eliminated by the pandemic.

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