Popular Trends & How to Incorporate Them into the Library

5 Aug

Yellow_Fidget_SpinnerPopular trends happen in a blink of an eye – a book becomes popular after being a sleeper when it was published, a movie becomes the most quoted movie of the summer or a toy becomes the must-have of the holiday season. As libraries continue to fight for funding and recognition within their community , jumping onto these popular trends is a way to bring people into the library that may not normally visit. So after carefully planning your programming months in advance, how do you throw in additional programs at the last minute and still have staff time to plan an event and market the program to the community?

Although this is something I think my library needs to work on a bit more, I think that it’s important to have a basic program plan ready to go for arts, movies, technology, and other themes. By having a basic plan, you can toss in any popular trend quickly and easily. Below, are a few popular trends over the past few years and I’ve added a quick program that’s easy to offer to your patrons.

Disney Movie Sing Along
Frozen was a HUGE hit and you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing kids singing the soundtrack. Offer a movie sing along at the library, a movie license, some speakers and a projector is all you need and encourage kids to sing along to all the songs. If you want, you can add snacks and crafts (but you don’t need to!).

Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go was a crazy trend last summer that had people roaming all throughout their community with their cell phones catching Pokemon. A quick, no fuss program (that you can partner with your local Park & Rec dept.) have a Pokemon Go safari in a local park or in the community. A 30-minute walk is the perfect amount of time for young kids, plus it gets kids exercising.

Slime
I’ve made more Slime in my life than I ever though possible. A few summers ago, I made slime with 4 different camp groups, plus offered another program at the library. I swore I would never make slime again, but it’s popular now and it’s fairly easy to make, so teach the kids how to make slime and talk about non-Newtonian fluids and bam – you’ve got a STEM program.

Kindness Rocks
This is my favorite, new popular trend – painted rocks that are hidden all over the community, often with kind words or inspiring quotes painted on them. This is a super simple program, have kids bring in their own rocks or purchase some from a home improvements store. Grab some paints and paintbrushes from your supply closet and you’ve got a program. Once the rocks dry, offer a second program to spread them throughout the community or allow kids to take them home and hide them near their houses. Because honestly, who doesn’t need more kindness?!?!?

So once you’ve planned the program, how do you promote a program that was planned a week ago? Social media for one – our patrons love checking our Facebook page for upcoming events, make sure to add it to your event calendar and promote it on your website. Plus, if you another program happening before your popular trend program – promote it there! Talk it up at the check-out desk and make sure you put together an eye catching flyer and leave it at the computer desks, reference desks and circ desks.

The worst thing you can do is try to offer a popular trend program after the trend has died down. It’s important to take advantage of the trend while it’s popular, otherwise you’re just creating more work for yourself and not connecting patrons with the world they know and love. The view that libraries are antiquated and unnecessary is so prevalent and what I want my library to do is to embrace those current trends and look at the future to gauge what might become popular and be ready.

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