I joined a local Toastmasters group when I started LibraryYOU knowing that I would be doing presentations about the project to local area groups (I wrote that step into the grant, so I knew I had to stick to it). Getting contributors is all about talent scouting and outreach and yes – doing presentations. It was a pleasant surprise when I realized that many of my fellow Toastmasters would make excellent LibraryYOU contributors. In fact, a Toastmaster made our first video about beekeeping. The patient advocate is also from the group. And I have other Toastmasters interested in the project.
Successful, ambitious people are often attracted to Toastmasters so it is easy to find interesting people with something to offer their community. They’re also looking to practice their public speaking skills, so videos and podcasts can help them in a way that the weekly Toastmasters meeting cannot. They can see themselves on video or hear themselves on audio. The other great thing is that they are used to preparing speeches and keeping them within a time limit. We like to keep our videos under 10 minutes and with most Toastmasters speeches being around the 5-7 minute mark, some people can just take their speech and easily transform it into a LibraryYOU piece.
Toastmasters is also a great way to network with people outside the library and to improve the library’s visibility in the community. Being part of LibraryYOU means coming to the library at least once to record in the studio. But I’ve made such strong connections that our contributors have been happy to come back and take a training class or get their picture taken for local newspaper articles about the project. I’d like to think that these people, who may not have been regular library users before, can at least now sing our praises because they feel connected to us through LibraryYOU. LibraryYOU is, after all, about our community and the wonderful people that are a part of it.