As we all know, books pair well with just about anything. Including beer. A dark ale or a hoppy brew can serve as the perfect frosty companion to your next read. And as the popularity of craft beer continues to rise, your local watering hole can be a great space to connect with young people in your community and introduce them to the digital services your library has to offer—even without ever stepping foot inside the library.

Connecting with millennials outside your library walls

Research shows that millennials spend more on craft beers than any other generation. More than half of millennials surveyed said they had drunk a craft beer in the last week, which has certainly contributed to the rise in the number of breweries that have popped up in recent years (1,511 in 2007 to more than 7,000 in 2018).

So, why not partner with your local brewery to connect this age group to your library’s digital collection and help them rediscover the library?

Hosting events throughout the community can seem like a daunting task, especially if your library doesn’t have a large marketing department to take care of the details. But it doesn’t have to take a lot of extra effort. An information table, a few printed marketing pieces or giveaway items, and a friendly smile may be all you need to engage with potential patrons. The impact of creating a visible presence in your community and showcasing the value and depth of your library services can go a long way, as Westlake Porter Public Library Director Andrew Mangels discovered. As he explains in the following video, the library made it their mission to always say YES to community events, such as Ebooks on Tap, and it paid off.

Getting started

To get started, get in contact with your area’s local bars, breweries, and wineries to see if they’d be interested in partnering with the local library. Establishments that have regular trivia nights often attract the perfect crowd. Print a few pieces from the Resource Center like business cards, bookmarks, or half-sheet flyers to hand out as a takeaway to remind new users to download Libby. There’s even a fun ‘Pick Your Poison’ flyer available that lets bar-goers follow a boozy path to their next great read.

To add extra incentive for readers to come up to your table and learn about the library’s digital collection, hold a raffle drawing for a new tablet or a gift card. Many local businesses, including the brewery, would likely be more than willing to donate a gift card in support of the library and their community.

Including digital in your existing programming

Many libraries across the country are already hosting beer-themed programming like book clubs at their local breweries. In addition to advertising your print titles, it’s easy to include the digital version of the selected title as well when you promote your book club in the library or on social media.

When considering your summer and fall outreach events for the year, check to see if you can reserve a booth or table at your area’s wine festival or Oktoberfest celebration. These community events can be a great opportunity to meet those who aren’t regularly coming in to the library. Before you head to the event, curate a collection of titles you know the targeted age group would find interesting. For millennials, this might be professional development titles, popular audiobooks, parenting guides, top picks from NPR, or maybe just books on beers. When you demo your digital offerings, they can immediately find titles of interest when checking out your collection for the first time.

To learn more about how libraries are reaching new digital users in and outside of their library, read Part 1 of the series. Check back for future blog posts in this series that will include getting started with local PR and outreach, reaching “non-readers,” and putting your best foot forward with best practices for your website.

To host an Ebooks on Tap event at your own library or for help getting started, contact your Account Manager for more details.

About the author:
Annie Suhy has been working with public libraries since 2006. An Outreach Services Specialist at OverDrive, Annie has partnered with libraries across the globe to integrate their digital collections into their outreach efforts. She is also a millennial that just so happens to love craft beer.