Planning

Academic Libraries

It’s Academic: Using Programming Librarian in LIS Courses

As a library science educator, and with concerns about saturated job markets as well as declining job opportunities, I’m always looking for ways to give my students a competitive edge. Instead of giving the future reference librarian only a hint of an introduction to programming in libraries, I want the future reference librarians that come out of my program to be able to hit the ground running and do more than answer reference questions. So, I’ve become a Programming Librarian evangelist!

Author Events

Author Events Made Easy

Ah, author events at the library. Is there anything more fun? Author events can also be perplexing, frustrating, and sometimes hair-raising, but mostly when I think of author events I’m primed for a good time—both for myself and my patrons. If you’re ready to give author events a whirl, here are a few things to think about.

Why do author events? It’s a great question, and one to which you’ll want to give some serious thought before you begin an author program. What do you hope to achieve by hosting an author at your library? Maybe you want to:

Bringing Writers to Readers: A Partnership That Works

The future of bookselling often seems cloudy in this rapidly changing digital world, but the future of reading is clear. As publishers struggle to determine the best way to produce and market books in this new digital era, non-profit organizations whose mission is to encourage reading must continue to find ways to connect writers and readers. As resources shrink, creativity and partnerships become even more vital.

Navigating the World of Publishers for Author Programs

Finding authors, booking them for your library program, and getting them for a price that your library can afford can sometimes be a challenge. How do you start? Who do you contact? What can you expect? What do they expect?

If you already have contacts with a publisher, then pick up the phone and call. If they aren’t the person handling author requests, then ask them to give you the appropriate person to contact. Start with an introductory e-mail asking for a time to call them to talk about securing an author.

Civic Engagement

Libraries at the Center of Civic Dialogue: Hosting Public Policy Discussions

By Susan Graseck – Director, The Choices Program – Brown University

De Tocqueville’s assertion — that democracy succeeds through the democratic outlook of individual citizens — is the prerequisite condition for enlightened citizenship. It is the condition under which citizens make informed, value-based choices, and then share them with their government so that wiser and more democratic policies will be enacted.

Civil War Programming

Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation

February 1861. Abraham Lincoln has been elected the sixteenth President of the United States. Seven states have seceded from the Union. Representatives from the seceding states gather in Montgomery, Alabama, where they frame and adopt a constitution for their new government. Jefferson Davis is elected President of the Confederacy. Within the next two months, Lincoln will be inaugurated.

Copyright

Copyright Tips for Programming Librarians: Storytimes

Librarians generally don’t ask if storytelling is an infringement of copyright. Don’t worry—it isn’t, but have you ever considered why? Telling a story aloud to a group of people technically is a public performance, one of the exclusive rights of the rights holder. Rights holder could sue libraries for an unauthorized public performance, but thankfully, they don’t. Why?

The benefit of storytelling to the public far outweighs the interests of the rights holder to collect a fee. Storytelling is a fair use. Digging down a bit deeper, let’s explain why this is so.

Funding

Making the Case for Library Programming

Even though library programming is widespread, programmers still find themselves faced with having to persuade the library administration, board members, colleagues, and even patrons and the public of its value. As different agencies and library departments compete for limited funding, it’s important to be able to articulate why cultural programming is worth the investment.

Grant Funding Sources

Following is a selected list of organizations and institutions that have funded library programs for adults or worked as partners with libraries for programs—have you approached similar groups in your community for funding or in-kind support?

Grant Application Tips

To make your grant application competitive:

  1. Applications that have been thoroughly prepared stand out to reviewers. Spend time writing the application, thinking of ideas for programs, and lining up support in the library and in the community, and you will see better results in both the application process and when developing and implementing the program.

  2. Read the application carefully and answer all questions directly and with as much detail as possible. Pay particular attention to requirements mentioned in the application.

Library Students and Programming

Get in the Loop!: How Library Students Can Use Programming Librarian

As librarians, we tend to be a goal-driven bunch. Whether it is launching a new program, increasing circulation statistics, improving patron experiences, or developing further skills through training or conferences, it always seems that the library community at large is in a constant state of self-improvement. Perhaps this need for self-reflection stems from the changing space and use of the library, or is a side effect of doing more with less as the impact of the financial downturn hits libraries everywhere.

Literacy

Marketing

Partnerships and Collaboration

Mutual Affection: Partnering with Local Rescue Groups for Pet Therapy Events

In the past few years, it seems that every academic cycle brings more news of universities using therapy dogs to ease the stress of students during finals week. One of the first instances to hit mainstream media was the report in the March 21, 2011, New York Times that the much revered Yale Law School was now circulating a certified pet therapy dog named Monty through their library. It was clear that America’s growing inclusion of pets into everyday lives was making its way into our libraries.

Bringing Writers to Readers: A Partnership That Works

The future of bookselling often seems cloudy in this rapidly changing digital world, but the future of reading is clear. As publishers struggle to determine the best way to produce and market books in this new digital era, non-profit organizations whose mission is to encourage reading must continue to find ways to connect writers and readers. As resources shrink, creativity and partnerships become even more vital.

Making a Difference Together

Partnerships are critical to what we do every day. Their value cannot be underestimated. By working together it allows us to go beyond simply doing “more with less,” to doing “more with more.” Public libraries are in a unique position to act as a catalyst for innovative community development initiatives. Proactively reaching out to our community stakeholders enables us to improve services and leverage limited resources to build better communities.

No Library Is an Island: Community Collaborations

Gone are the days when the library stood in splendid isolation. Libraries partner with all kinds of organizations to deliver programs and produce audiences. Partnerships can have pitfalls, often because one side or the other expects something that doesn’t get delivered. But more libraries than ever are reporting that successful collaborations are central to their planning and no longer an afterthought.

Getting the Most from Your Museum/Library Partnership

Perhaps it’s a symptom of the economy and diminishing resources, but there is more talk than ever about partnerships and collaboration in all types of organizations, including libraries and other nonprofits. We are being urged to “maximize resources,” “leverage assets,” and “avoid duplication” in the work we do. At the American Library Association’s Annual Conference this year, every program I attended (as well as the one I presented!) mentioned partnerships and collaboration.

Collaboration @ Your School Library

As a middle school librarian, I am responsible for many tasks: managing a small library, teaching information skills, promoting reading, and collaborating on instruction with classroom teachers. One duty that does not seem required, though, is providing stimulating programming for students. Sure, my school appreciates when I moderate book clubs or host an author visit, but if I did not offer these events, I’m not sure anyone would complain. In speaking with my peers, I found there is often little programming expectations for school librarians.

Professional Development

Program Evaluation

Adventures in Program Assessment at Towson University

About a year and a half ago, as a colleague and I were preparing for an upcoming book club discussion, she asked me a basic question: How many chairs should I set up? On its face it seemed simple, but I found it to be a question that I could not really answer. As a relatively new programming librarian at Towson University’s Albert S. Cook Library, I had tried to put forward workshops, lectures, and discussions that I thought our students, faculty, and staff, as well as local community members, would find interesting and useful. Sometimes I succeeded, and sometimes I failed miserably.

Meeting Needs and Making a Difference

We’ve all been there. You plan a great program, and only a handful of people show up—or no one does. Maybe something that has always done well in the past mysteriously fails to draw an audience. Maybe you start something new specifically because someone asked for it—and still it doesn’t get off the ground. You’re doing everything you can think of and everything your schedule and your budget allow to promote your events to potential audiences. How can you draw people to your programs?

Evaluation of Cultural Programs

There’s a lot of buzz about evaluation these days. Are programs effective? Do they make the library, and by extension, the community, a better place? Do they accomplish what we intend and/or do they sometimes have other, maybe even better, unintended consequences?

Boost Survey Results with Carefully Crafted Questions

The act of planning programs is a big job with a lot to consider. Where will you have your program? How big is the space? Do you need to limit guests; will you need to have them register ahead of time? Will weather or parking spaces be factors? Can you choose a date and time when there are not too many other conflicts for your target audience? How much staff time or money will you need? How will you evaluate the program’s success afterward? These are just some of the questions you need to answer as you plan.

Program Planning

Creative Aging Programs Engage and Inspire

By Shannon McDonough, Communications Director, Lifetime Arts, Inc.

Part of what makes public libraries so valuable and trusted is the comprehensive range of programs and services they offer. Community outreach provides critical services to the neediest. Early literacy and other learning programs support the youngest minds and encourage them to explore their worlds.

What about the older minds?

After a lifetime of working, raising a family, or caring for a loved one, older adults are looking to have some fun, and the library is one place they can have some. Most adults fifty-five and older don’t fit into the “frail elderly” category. These people are often active, spirited, thoughtful, and engaged. They long for inspiring experiences that encourage their personal curiosity, instill self-confidence in their creative abilities, and provide valuable opportunities to make new friends. Who wouldn’t? Attending readings and performances can be entertaining and culturally enriching; however, these events don’t facilitate personal growth like Creative Aging programs do. Read more | Creative Aging Programs Engage and Inspire

Creating Successful Tween Programming from Scratch!

As we all experience daily, public library systems are doing more with less. So what is a system to do when faced with the task of filling a community need with a skeleton staff and invisible budget? The Manatee County Public Library System in Bradenton, Florida, was faced with this very question after our 2011 long-range planning process. The service area of Manatee County is 743 square miles with a population of 327, 293.

Reaching Teens Subversively through Passive Programming

Looking for a way to implement programming at your library, but strapped for cash, staff, or time? Want an easy—and maybe even subversive—way to reach teens? Passive programming is the answer.

Coffee and Crochet Hooks: Crafting an Adult Hand Skills Program

Arts ’n crafts have long been a staple library program, but are typically aimed at children. However, crafting for adults has recently re-emerged as a popular hobby. Image-based bookmarking site Pinterest helps users share ideas and inspire one another’s creativity. Meanwhile, Etsy, the online marketplace for buying and selling hand-crafted goods, currently has thousands of shops selling everything from knitted 1940s-style snoods to furniture to chocolates, and claims about fifteen million buyers.

Honoring Native Culture in Oceanside: Local and Sustainable Ethnic Programs in Libraries

Our Ancestors tell us that from the beginning of time, our people “ataaxam” have always occupied the San Luis Rey Valley, including the coastline, the neighboring lagoons, the oak forest, the lush meadows, the vernal springs, and the creeks and rivers to the north and south of the valley. The ataaxam harvested the fertile land and sea, and their extensive knowledge of the environment was passed on through culture, songs, stories and dances, from generation to generation.—The San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians Tribal Council

Bring Generations Together through Storytelling: A How-to Guide

The classroom was filled with forty-five excited third graders. They were in place. The teachers were in place. The storyteller had arrived. But where were the guests of honor? And then twenty older adults entered, some walking briskly, some in wheelchairs, all of them smiling. The children’s “grandbuddies,” the guests of honor, had arrived. O’Hara Elementary School in suburban Pittsburgh participated in the “grandbuddies” program during the 2011–2012 school year, and this was the culmination of the program.

Multiculturalism Happens: Targeting Multicultural Literacy in Libraries

Living and working in Miami’s diverse, multicultural environment, I am constantly exposed to new ways of thinking about culture at work and in the community. As a librarian, some of the best times I’ve had involved moments when I was able to learn about my students’ cultural backgrounds, particularly how they celebrate and experience culture. So it’s no wonder that I’m kind of passionate about bringing multicultural literacy to libraries to create cultural bonds within the community.

Programming Resources

Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation

February 1861. Abraham Lincoln has been elected the sixteenth President of the United States. Seven states have seceded from the Union. Representatives from the seceding states gather in Montgomery, Alabama, where they frame and adopt a constitution for their new government. Jefferson Davis is elected President of the Confederacy. Within the next two months, Lincoln will be inaugurated.

Libraries and the First Amendment

When five African American men entered the Audubon Regional Library in Clinton, Louisiana, they had already broken the law. The year was 1964, and their crime was entering a segregated, whites-only library. One man, Henry Brown, approached the circulation desk and requested a book, The Story of the Negro by Booker T. Washington. The librarian responded that the branch did not currently have the book, but that she would order it for him and would notify him when it arrived. She then asked the men to leave the facility.

Rural Libraries

The Rural Library as the Focal Point of Learning and Culture

Rural libraries have a special role to play in the communities they serve. In fact, the smaller the community, the bigger looms the library—although there are admittedly some pretty tiny libraries out there. It’s not so much the size of the collection, or number of staff members, or even how many hours a week the library is open. A library has a unique relationship with the people it serves. Now that we are in the digital age, the computers available for public use have become a cornerstone of the public library.

School Libraries

Underserved Populations