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Small Library, Big Community: Soup and Sound

Patrons at Slater Public Library share a meal and prepare to listen to entertainment at Soup and Sound

At Slater (Iowa) Public Library, we find that it's usually tough to get adults to attend programs. But we have also seen a few notable exceptions, one of which is our Soup and Sound program. As the name suggests, this consists of serving a meal and providing entertainment to attendees. Soup and Sound is not only popular — it's fun, community-building, and we've been able to cover our program costs with donations.

Skills for Community-Centered Libraries: Learning through Experience

philfree's picture
Edgar Dale's Cone of Experience

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” — Xun Kuang, philosopher

Imagine trying to learn to knit. Would you learn best by reading a book about knitting? Hearing a friend talk about knitting? Watching an expert knitter? Or learning the basic steps and actually trying to knit?

Community Needs: Anything You Want, You Got It

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Group of senior citizen women do chair yoga.

From September 2017 to June 2018, the Palos Verdes Library District partnered with 12 local organizations to offer 36 programs on health, wellness, financial security, self-care and more for adults ages 55 and older. It was a complicated initiative with many moving pieces, and it was a new endeavor for nearly everyone involved.

It also took an incredible amount of planning. Before embarking on any program planning (including writing a grant proposal), you need to decide what that program is going to be, right? 

How do you do that? A needs assessment! 

Fire! Fire!

A firetruck

The Fire! Fire! program is designed to pique young children's interest in firefighting, safety and suiting up for a fire. Invited firefighters read three books to the children and, after a safety demonstration, we head out to our loading dock where a fire vehicle is inspected and enjoyed.

Community Threads

Piles of jeans

Our Community Threads program offers gently used clothing, free of charge, to all patrons. Clothing is donated to the library in advance of the program, and on program day we welcome patrons to take as many items as they want.

We have offered this program for the past three years. It gives us an opportunity to help our community and also to bring people through our doors who wouldn't normally come to the library. This allows us to tout the other services we have to offer. And we don't spend a single cent!

Our Streets, Our Stories: A Brooklyn Neighborhood Oral History Project

Our Streets, Our Stories tabling event

Editor's note: To learn more about starting an oral history program, view this 60-minute webinar.

Our Streets, Our Stories is an ongoing oral history project housed in the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) Services for Older Adults within the Department of Outreach Services. We seek to explore the Brooklyn that is and the Brooklyn that was, from the words of the community that lives here.

If You Feed Them, They will Come

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Local Chef smiles as she prepares food during a demonstration

Think food programs are too pricey for your library? Think again! The Leesburg (Fla.) Public Library is successfully hosting an ongoing series of culinary programs without breaking the bank. We’ve partnered with several local businesses, organizations and writers to bring our community this delicious series of programs. The programs feature cooking demos, health and nutrition classes and even put an edible spin on youth and teen programs. Here are some food programs you can try at your library:

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