We have decided to participate in the Saturday Markets this summer as a way of talking to the community about the Library Fund-Raising Project. This means, mostly, that I go sit at a table for 3 hours and try to corral people to talk to me about what we are doing.
I did figure out that at the very least, we need to know what people know about all this stuff by conducting some informal surveys. Thus, at the first market, I asked as many people as I could (about 65) whether they knew that we were fund-raising for a new library, and whether they lived full- or part-time in Point Roberts or, by contrast, were day visitors. To my surprise, 50 of the 57 residents/cottagers did know. They might not have known about it in detail, but they knew it was underway. Not surprisingly, none of the day visitors knew about it.
But after a few minutes conversation, all 65 people knew it, and had seen an architect's drawing of what it will look like, and knew it would be built right next door. And some people spent more time talking about the project and a few people gave us a $10 donation and got a hand-made quilted bookmark for their generosity. And a lot of people took away a donation card.
This week, there were fewer people at the market--the weather was really unpleasant. But we pluckily continued our survey work, asking people about whether they knew that the library provided free Wi-Fi access 24/7 to anybody who was in the building or even in the parking lot. Only 5 of the 25 people we talked to knew about the Wi-Fi, and 2 of them had just noticed the sign as they came into the building that minute.
I would prefer it if we had become the first wireless community in the U.S., but we didn't. Short of that, the Library's willingness to provide us all with wireless access is my second choice of good community services. For most of us who roam the internet casually, wi-fi access is what we have at home. But there are lots of people who don't have that access in their homes, and when I am sitting in the hallway on Saturday Market Days, I am happy to be able to use WCLS wi-fi to connect me with the world.
Next market day, come by and see what I want to ask you! And look at the drawing and the bookmarks and whatever else we have hustled up as donation premiums. We always have the bookmarks (as does the Blue Heron), but this past Saturday we also had lovely and soft knit scarves and hats and charming little kids wool socks, thanks to the generosity of Eleanor Genron.