Some Questions to Consider:
Do you know when duck hunting season begins? Do you know what torque is? Do you have a word association between the words "librarian" and "orangutan"?* Can you name ten good war novels in your collection? Do you know the name of the most popular MUDs and computer games? Do you know as much about prostate cancer as you do about breast cancer? When four 14-year old boys walk through the door, jostling each other and talking, do you smile as warmly at them as at any other customer?
If not, you might want to re-examine your collections, your programming, your exhibits, your web sites, and your book clubs to see if you can deliver better services to men.
Collection: Areas That May Need Improvement
Graphic novels Hunting and fishing War and Weapons (fiction and nonfiction) Handyman how-to-do-it stuff Computers, computer games Cars High-risk sports Science Fiction -- *the librarian of Unseen University in the popular Disc World Series by Terry Pratchett is, owing to an unfortunate disagreement with a wizard, an orangutan Periodicals: Visit the nearest bookstore with a large newsstand and look at the magazines targeted to men. How many of them do you have? How many of the SUBJECTS they cover do you have magazines about? Do you have magazines on the military, WWF, bodybuilding, hang gliding, NASCAR, motorcycling, mountaineering, guns, fishing, hunting, backpacking, camping, home workshop projects, hot rods, etc. (And remember, if you do subscribe to periodicals men like, you can use them as buying guides, to tell you what topics are of current interest.)
Exhibits: Topics To Consider
Sports novels and non-fiction War novels and non-fiction Displays on hunting and fishing when the season begins Honoring local military Science fiction Computer games Technology and technological issues Local political/economic/social issues -- as keepers of your community's history, you can provide valuable background information
Consider soliciting display materials from local organizations (and consider asking their advice on collection building)
Programming: consider partnering with:
Computer clubs Model railroad clubs Veterans' organizations Youth sport leagues and dads' clubs Civil war re-enactors? Junior achievement Stores that sell building materials and car stuff for programs on basic plumbing, home and auto maintenance, etc. Consider doing your presentations on health information in two gender-segregated sessions, one presented by a man and one presented by a woman. Whenever any organization uses your program rooms, provide guides to your library's collection and your recommended web sites for the topic under discussion.
Men only reading groups Father-son reading groups - see http://guysread.com/ Topical reading groups on topics like war novels, military history, sports novels, technological policy issues
Library Web Pages: Areas to Target:
Men's health Local hunting and fishing info -- where to get permits, when the seasons start, choice hunting and fishing spots, camping info, etc. Reading lists for male interest books - see the Fiction-L booklists at Morton Grove Public Library, at http://www.webrary.org/inside/aboutwww.html Computer resources -- for downloads, standards, news, discussion forums, games, MUDs and MOOs
Outreach by Topical E-Mail Newsletters, Blogs, etc.
Not one blog but many; those who select material blog on the subject areas they select for. Not one e-mail newsletter but many; whoever selects material offers e-mail newsletters in those subject areas
Invite Men's Groups To Participate in Selection and Weeding
Ask them what sources they use to find out about new books in their field, and what sites they regularly visit online Ask them what the hot issues are in their fields right now. Invite them to look through your collection in their specialization and let you know what's obsolete and what areas need beefing up. (You'll all learn something in the process.)