Library programming ideas: don’t ignore the obvious!

When it comes to library programming, many public libraries tend to do the same kinds of things.  Most libraries do storytimes, host book groups, and invite in authors.  Several others do additional programming like host gaming tournaments, teach computer classes, and help people learn job search skills.  These programs are a very important part of what we do, whether we are teaching children early literacy skills or helping the unemployed with their job search when they have no place else to turn.  These are all excellent programs, but they aren’t necessarily the most creative, innovative, and fun programs out there.  If we are going to truly make the library the third place in our communities, the community gathering place between home and work/school, we have to create some programs that are going to generate some buzz in our communities.  But how do we come up with cool and clever programming ideas?

Storytimes have been around for a long time. They still totally rule, but what else can we be doing?

Well, for starters, how about seeing what is hot on Twitter, turning on the television, or reading the newspaper (if you really want to go old school)?  Sometimes the coolest programming ideas are the most obvious ones.  For example, check out the event that the Niagara Falls (Ontario) Public Library held very, very early on Friday, April 29, 2011…a Royal Wedding viewing party!

Here is the report that Andrew Porteus of the Niagara Falls Public Library gave of the event on PubLib:

“We had 47 participants – one took a taxi from a nearby town & arrived at 3 a.m. (doors opened at 4:30) – she sat in the nearby doughnut shop, and met a lady who had taken the last bus & had arrived just after midnight. Talk about dedication!  It was very festive – lots of comments on the processions, but turned really quiet during the service. The local cable company was there, the TV station from Hamilton stayed all morning & broadcast at various times with interviews & comments. The papers were there also. We received a tremendous amount of good publicity from this.”

Sure, there were some costs involved in organizing this program, but any library could have held a Royal Wedding event like this.  And the idea for a program like this was totally obvious!  What completely obvious yet cool and buzzworthy programs have you had at your library?

 

 

Ryan

Hi, I’m Ryan Livergood. I am the Executive Director of the Warren-Newport Public Library. I was previously the Director of Libraries in Arlington, Massachusetts, Assistant Director of the Dover Town Library in Dover, Massachusetts (a Library Journal finalist for “Best Small Library in America”), and I got my start in public librarianship with the Miami-Dade Public Library System. I also spent time in the Library Automation field with Sirsi Corporation (now SirsiDynix). Other positions I have had include teaching English in China and serving in the Peace Corps. I received my MLIS from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. My wonderful family consists of the best wife on the planet, my two young sons, and a mostly lovable cat. I love sports, especially college basketball and football. I also love to travel, watch great films, and enjoy amazing meals with a nice glass of red wine or a craft beer. Oh, I love reading too, but I’m a librarian, so you kind of knew that already, right?

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