Let’s Get this Conversation Started

ALA MW Sweater VestAs soon as we hopped off the plane in Seattle, we were ready to start talking! Discussing market trends, brainstorming new solutions for clients’ challenges and showing off our new outreach materials dominated our time at the ALA Midwinter Meeting which featured the theme The Conversation Starts Here. This past weekend kick-started many conversations that will continue well through 2013. Check out our recap of the hot topics below!

Building Stronger Communities. The recently released Pew Internet and American Life Project report, Library Services in the Digital Age found 91% of Americans age 16+ say public libraries are important to their communities. And access to the Internet for research and school projects is a big reason 16+ year olds go to the library. Libraries play a pivotal role in providing lifelong educational resources across diverse populations. From online tutoring and free classes to maker-spaces that support STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), libraries are being creative about supporting their communities. Tutor.com is finding more students continue to access live tutoring from their libraries too.  In 2012, our community of tutors completed close to a million sessions with students coming from their libraries’ websites using their computer, smartphone or tablet.

Get Back to Your Life. New for 2013, Tutor.com launched a series of fun, engaging outreach materials that encourage library patrons to get their homework/work done and then get back to their busy lives. Thanks to all the clients who gave us great feedback!  If you want to see some of our favorite outreach materials and programs check out the Tutor.com Connecting with the Community page on Pinterest.

Protecting the Freedom to Read. This year it was amazing to see so many librarians taking a stand together.  The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom declared Sunday, January 27th, Sweater Vest Sunday at ALA Midwinter to defend the freedom to read. OIF encouraged everyone to don sweater vests for the day and discuss the importance of reporting challenges of library materials to ALA OIF. We dove right into this conversation by bringing along our very own sweater vests to wear at the Tutor.com booth and show our commitment to the freedom to read!

Now that we’re back in the office we are already thinking ahead to our next stop, ALA Annual in Chicago this June. We can’t wait to join that conversation, Transforming Our Libraries, Ourselves!

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