When Barbakoff came to work at Bainbridge in October 2011, she noticed a gap in usage between youths and 50-plus retirees. She targeted working adults, especially the “elusive twenty- and thirtysomethings, and people who don’t have a lot of money.”
She added eight events a month to the library schedule, including a DIY series dubbed Radical Home Economics. Program attendance jumped dramatically, doubling to 600 adults in October 2012 from October 2011, Barbakoff says. Once she has perfected a program, she exports it to other Kitsap branches.
Barbakoff’s flagship may be Ferry Tales, a floating book group on the Bainbridge Island–Seattle commuter ferry. Up to 30 percent of Bainbridge’s adults take a ferry off-island to work, making it difficult for them to visit the library. After receiving state permission, Barbakoff started a monthly book group in March 2012 and an ask-a-librarian session. Ferry Tales now has 15 regular participants. “[The program] really made me get outside the library and approach people,” Barbakoff says. “It’s stretched me in dealing with a lot of different outside groups.”
Fun fact: Audrey is one of my travel reviewers and she is great.