“What do you geek?”
It is a question most have never been asked, with “geek” used as a verb, meaning, “to love, to enjoy, to celebrate, to have an intense passion for;” “to express interest in;” “to possess a large amount of knowledge in;” and/or “to promote,” according to the OCLC’s “Geek the Library” website.
The Mount Airy Public Library is asking everyone the question — “What do you geek?” In fact, all libraries within the Northwestern Regional Library System have jumped on board with the year-long campaign, rolling out the “Geek the Library” campaign using various strategies all year.
This week is National Library Week, and library staff are inviting everyone to visit the library and participate in the campaign.
“We are embracing the campaign and spreading the word that our public library has something to offer for everyone, for every interest, wherever your passion lies,” Branch Librarian Pat Gwyn shared.
“Our main goal is to get more people to come by and share what they love, tell us and let us know and we can help direct you to what we offer to supplement and help you grow that interest.”
At the recent Northwest Regional Library System Photography Awards, a station was set up for those in attendance to sit down and share what they “geek” with the library staff, as well as pose for a picture. Gwyn said the pictures are being used to make signs and posters showing what locals are interested in and so far, they have had a good response system-wide, with people like WXII’s Lanie Pope posing for the posters. Pope shared that she geeks “music and lyrics.” Mount Airy resident and library board member Kelly Merritt shared that she “geeks gardening” on the poster the library created.
Posters featuring local celebrities and other individuals are on display in the library, as well as stickers and handouts for the campaign. Gwyn added that a posterboard is right inside the front door of the library, with a marker, and anyone is invited to stop by the library and sign it, sharing what they geek, where their passions and interests lie.
The poster has filled up several times per week, and this week, library patrons had added interests such as: guitar and fiddle, dogs and cats, Scooby Doo, Jesus, traveling, dragons, Marvel comics, Pokemon, reading, comic books, vintage photographs, antiques, music, and many more.
All of the information gathered during this part of the campaign will be used by library staff members to expand their offerings, such as adding additional materials and books to their shelves, as well as create library programs and workshops aimed toward public interest.
“We want to know what you want from your public library — What do our patrons want to see in their library?” Gwyn said.
“We might think we know people, but we only know one aspect of them. This campaign allows us to discover new and different aspects of their lives,” Gwyn commented.
She also shared that folk singer Adam Miller recently performed a free concert at the library, and he said he really loved the campaign. “Adam performed with us and he said he had seen the campaign, and initially didn’t understand it, but it made him think about it more, which he said really resonated with him…he said that type of campaign has the most impact, one you have to stop and think about.”
Gwyn said she wanted to invite everyone to join the “Friends of the Mount Airy Public Library” Facebook page, and to post answers to the question “What do you geek?” as a way to interact with the library, even sharing pictures with captions answering the question.
“We really love feedback, and love the interaction of this, so please, stop by, get in touch with us through email, Facebook, just reach out and let us know what you love.”
The Geek the Library project is a community public awareness campaign aimed at spreading the word about the vital role of public libraries, with the goal at inspiring a conversation about the need for people to support their local library. The campaign is sponsored by OCLC, a nonprofit library cooperative and supported by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Friends of the Mount Airy Public Library are always looking for more people to join in supporting the local library. The “More Books Please” mission is ongoing, and donations will be used to strengthen collections such as children’s books, modern fiction, eBooks, classic fiction, large print books, biographies, research collections, and the business collection. Throughout the year, library supporters can purchase “Friends of the Mount Airy Public Library” book bags for $10 each, with all proceeds going to the library.
For more information about the national campaign and for interactive ways to contribute to the campaign, visit geekthelibrary.org. Visit the Northwestern Regional Library’s website at www.nwrl.org for more information about the Mount Airy Public Library and other libraries in the region.
Reach Jessica Johnson at 719-1933 and on Twitter @MountAiryJess.