After reading College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know (which I highly recommend!), I am more interested than ever in finding out how we can reach out to parents. Among many other things, the book talks about where students turn for research help. I doubt anyone will be surprised to learn that they first go to their professors, then to their peers and family members, and then maybe to librarians. I can always do more outreach with faculty, but this got me thinking more about how to reach out to parents.
I want to start small (and perhaps stay small - I wear many hats and don't have a ton of time for new endeavors). Librarians staff tables at the various student resource fairs, and there is one resource fair where parents are likely to be present: Accepted Students Day - when students come to campus to meet their advisers and register for classes.
This Saturday just happens to be Accepted Students Day so I'm trying a two-pronged tactic. I have a sign up sheet for any parents who would like to receive periodic email updates from the library (our newsletter and maybe at most 2 emails a semester). I'm not convinced there will be a lot of takers but I see no harm in trying. I'm also working on a flier for parents that talks about when to send their students to a librarian, the various ways to contact a librarian, how a librarian can help, and, of course, library hours.
We'll see how it goes. The resource fair at Accepted Students Day is during a time when students have a lot of things to accomplish (including lunch, which is at least in the same room as the fair) so we don't always get a lot of visitors to the Library table.