How do you engage your library users if they don’t want a book club? This was the situation Robyn Groundwater of Central Highlands Regional Libraries faced last year when they were brainstorming ideas to bring senior community members into their libraries.
Robyn recalls being asked by her manager to start a book club, but she felt it wouldn’t be a success because there wasn’t the population to support the club’s sustainability, nor could seniors afford the costs required.
So, what did bring people into the library you ask? Food!
Robyn says she knew food was the answer to a new offer for users of the Duaringa and Dingo Libraries, as seven years ago all libraries in the shire started adult craft sessions, and the only two libraries still going were those where Robyn provided scrumptious morning teas herself.
“I put my thinking cap on and came up with a cooking demonstration, where I purchase the food, cook the meal and everyone enjoys it.”
“But they really aren’t interested in how it is cooked; just eating it,” she laughs.
“My first week I had seven attend and now I am doing up to 16. I have people come in who have never been in the library in their life and they are in their 80s. It has got local elderly people out of their houses and communicating with others.”
Today, the cooking demonstrations have gone from a monthly event to a fortnightly event at the community’s request. The menu has included everything from main meals such as apricot chicken, curry chicken, crumbed fish, rissoles, beef stir fry, corned beef and lasagne, to sweets such as trifle, apple crumble, plum pudding and cheese cake, and, on special occasions such as Christmas – a whole feast!