Developing Programming Librarians

Programming Librarian

Programming Librarian home page

Programming Librarian home page

In 2008, the ALA Public Programs Office launched ProgrammingLibrarian.org, an online community and resource center for librarians who plan and present cultural, community programs. The continuing growth of the site is made possible by contributions from programming librarians across the country who share their experiences through feature articles and blog posts.  In 2011, more than 40 writers contributed to the site, providing insight into such topics as promoting civic engagement, conducting surveys, developing film series, organizing community reads, setting up author events, marketing programs, reaching out to underserved populations, and programming on a budget. Some of the most popular articles on Programming Librarian in 2011 included:

This year, the site added a powerful search feature, the Brainstormer. This section of the site allows programming librarians to conduct topical searches, resulting in curated lists of resources to support program development. Additional, a suite of programming resources and ideas that incorporate the images in the Picturing America collection found a new home on ProgrammingLibrarian.org, including “Picturing America On Screen,” the video companion to the collection.

The ProgrammingLibrarian.org community grew in 2011, with more than 47,000 site visitors. Subscription to the Programming Librarian newsletter grew by 10%. Social media outreach in 2011 resulted in an 83% growth in Twitter followers and 22% in Facebook fans. Development of ProgrammingLibrarian.org is funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the ALA Cultural Communities Fund.

Online Learning

In order to keep librarians up to date on opportunities for programming and available program models, the ALA Public Programs Office presents free online learning sessions that focus on best practices in cultural programming. In 2011, The ALA Public Programs Office presented six online learning opportunities, reaching an audience of nearly 300 programming librarians.

Annual Conference

poet Mark Doty speaks at the Language of Conservation tour at the Audubon Zoo during the 2011 Annual Conference

Poet Mark Doty speaks at the “Language of Conservation” tour at the Audubon Zoo during the 2011 Annual Conference (click on image to enlarge in new window)

The ALA Public Programs Office reached an audience of more than 450 attendees at the 2011 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans with six programs addressing issues in cultural and community programming.  Program topics included ideas for science programming, partnership opportunities, programming with the Picturing America collection, and maximizing the impact of library programs.

In cooperation with Poets House, the New Orleans Public Library, and the Audubon Zoo, the ALA Public Programs Office hosted more than 100 conference attendees at “The Language of Conservation at the Audubon Zoo.” Following a reception, attendees were treated to a guided tour through the zoo to see “The Language of Conservation” poetry installations, followed by a poetry reading by nationally acclaimed poet and Audubon Zoo Poet-in-Residence Mark Doty. “The Language of Conservation” was made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The ALA Public Programs Office presented readings from 26 authors and poets on the LIVE! @ your library Reading Stage on the exhibits floor. More than 500 conference goers enjoyed live readings from many award-winning, popular, and up-and-coming authors and poets. Readers on the LIVE! Stage included Mark Doty, Daniel Handler, Tayari Jones, R. Zamora Lindmark, and Nalini Singh.

Sara Jaffarian Award

Ronda Hassig (left) receives the 2011 Sara Jaffarian Award

Ronda Hassig (left) receives the 2011 Sara Jaffarian Award (click on image to enlarge in new window)

The Harmony Middle School Library in Overland Park, Kansas, was selected as the winner of the 2011 Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award for Exemplary Humanities Programming, presented annually by the ALA Public Programs Office in collaboration with the American Association of School Librarians. Ronda Hassig, librarian at Harmony Middle School, developed and submitted the winning program, which brought seventh graders together with local poet Bonnie Lynn Tolson to create poetry and art around the theme of homelessness.

The Sara Jaffarian Award was established in 2006 to recognize and promote excellence in humanities programming in elementary and middle school (K–8) libraries. The $4,000 award was presented in June during the Auditorium Speaker Series presentation of William Joyce at the 2011 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.