Tag Archives: programming

Holocaust Survivor Program

31 Mar

zen_classic_logo_2_1000.jpgWe had a HUGE crowd for this program on a Wednesday evening. At a time when there are fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors living, I felt strongly that we needed to give our community the opportunity to hear about this horrific historical event from a first-perspective. It also worked out really well to offer this program as just recently the Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia was vandalized with 75-100 headstones being toppled over and damaged like many other Jewish cemeteries across America.

We were able to partner with the Holocaust Awareness Museum and  Education Center in Philadelphia. The Education Director came out to our library and provided a 10-15 minute overview of the Holocaust with a PowerPoint slideshow including photographs and then he introduced, Dave Tuck, a Holocaust survivor – he was sent to a concentration camp at the age of 12 and was later liberated on May 5, 1945 and then immigrated to America in 1950. At the time of his liberation, he weighed only 78 pounds, a concept that is horrific and almost unbelievable, if not for the proof standing in front of you. What amazed me the most was Dave Tuck’s view on life after living through such a horrible time – he was married for a number of years to, clearly the love of his life, has a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren and spends his time talking with school groups and groups like the one at the library; sharing his memories so as to not have something like this ever happen again.

I would strongly suggest that if you are able to offer a program like this at your library, you do it. Sharing first-person history truly makes history come alive and reminds us that if the old adage, “history repeats itself” we make sure that the right parts of history are repeated and others never, ever happen again.

 

Community Survey Results

16 Mar

We created a community survey using Survey Monkey and also had it available on paper for people who stopped in the library and were willing to fill it out. After about six weeks, we gathered 333 responses, about 1/3 of which were gathered online, while the majority were gathered on paper. We also made the survey available at the Community Center and Senior Center in the hopes of getting more people to fill it out.

The results are in and it’s so interesting what people know and don’t know about our library. Many people are unfamiliar with our online resources, many people don’t know our hours or that our book drop is available 24/7 (even when the library is open) and there are always requests for more – more materials, more programs, more space.

Overall, I’d say that most of the people who filled out our survey are happy with the services we provide, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that we have things to work on as well.  The first being customer service, one interaction is all people need to form an opinion about an organization and sometimes that opinion isn’t always positive.  I’m hoping that through our customer service training that we just covered last month, this will begin to improve. I also hope that by working at the desks along side my staff, I can see for myself what’s happening as well as set an example of what we should be doing.

The question becomes, why don’t people know about (insert resources, programs, materials here)? What can we do to better promote ourselves in the community. We are continuing to work towards a number of goals this year and I’m beginning to line up some ideas for next year as well – projects that take time and funding. I’d like to begin promoting ourselves better, something I’ve known for a long time and something that we are continuing to work towards as we create our strategic plan and new website design.

Finally, I keep reminding myself that we can’t change everything we do and we can’t make everyone happy, but we can continue to listen to our community and provide resources and programs that our community wants and needs.

Partnering with Parks & Recreation

12 Jan

71cb890892149fa66a4512232e657367.jpgI had a meeting with our township’s Parks & Recreation department recently and it was so wonderful that it didn’t end up like an episode of the NBC show Parks & Recreation, rather we’re planning for ways to partner with each other while also not stepping on each other’s toes. Our community has a brand new community center which is a HUGE draw for our residents and our Parks & Rec department is not only running the center but also moved their office to the building as well, so we’re all adjusting as programming has changed, spaces have changed and learning how we can partner together.

While our Board of Supervisors is looking for us to partner together, we are both trying to figure out ways to do so, while not undercutting the funds the community center needs to run and at the same time, not charging library patrons for programs. Needless to say, we’ve gotten really creative about how we partner. We offering a fitness class once a month to promote the community center programs, while also promoting healthy living and health literacy from the library perspective. The Parks & Rec staff have given us a certain number of spaces for our patrons to experience these classes for free.

We’re also offering a library card drive next month – which is super simple! Library card applications and a staff member at the community center for a few hours to promote library programs.

We’re also putting together a joint grant application for a Healthy Living series of programs over the course of the year. Four programs, one for each season – Swim-Up Storytime at the Community Center pool with fun music and craft for the summer, Soups & Stews for healthy eating in the fall, an essential oils program in the winter and a container gardening program for the spring. We’re hoping that by off-setting the cost through a grant, we won’t have to worry about charging residents for the program and the Community Center/Parks & Rec department will be compensated for the use of the space and for any instructors we need to hire for the programs.

Programming for Millennials

11 Jan

milI’ve been thinking about how to entice millennials to use our library more for over a year now. And now, I feel like I’m finally in a place to start planning some programs to attract this generation into the library. Being a millennial myself, I know how much millennials hate being called “millennials.” But at the same time, we lose most of this group from about 16 to when they become parents themselves. So how do we get a group of people to use the library who haven’t been in a public library for a good 10-15 years?

The first order of business is to figure out how to promote these programs to an adult audience so that it doesn’t become a program for seniors (which is our typical audience for adult programs). It’s my goal that as we provide more and more programming for this age group, it will become a group of people who know what the library can offer them and bring their friends along too!

I’m hoping that the programming that we begin to offer will lend itself to the millennial generation – a book discussion held at some of the local bars, preschool for adults (old-school 90s activities like Spirograph, Shrinky Dinks, etc.) and some educational classes about home buying, home maintenance and more.

We’re also going to look into providing a Tech program highlighting our online resources including OverDrive, Zinio (for eMagazines), Ancestry.com and more. I’m hoping that this would be a way to bridge across generations to educate more community members about library services that we already have, but things they might not know about.

Our Board also suggested partnering with the local Mom’s Club (which we currently do), by offering a specific program for parents of young children to highlight new books, our programs and services to encourage circulation and programming.

We also just created our own “book bundles” a group of four fiction and nonfiction titles about a specific topic for easy pick-up for parents who don’t have a lot of time. My coworker did a great job of putting together these great bundles and really focused on providing diversity where she could find it. Plus, by not changing the call number, spine label or location, if these books bundles don’t work after a month or two, it wasn’t too much excessive work to have to take apart again.

So what programs would you like to see for millennials in the library?

 

Passive Programming: Clear Out the Craft Room

25 Mar

top-10-kids-craft-supplies.jpgThe kids in our school district had the whole week off for spring break so with that in mind, I knew we would need to offer a few programs to keep them busy.  We had a screening of the ever-so-popular Minions with quite a large audience on Tuesday evening and on Wednesday we hosted a Spring Break Party.

I was originally going to plan a specific program for the party, but then realized that we had a ton of leftover craft supplies that weren’t enough to complete a specific project with a large group of kids, so we had a Crafternoon!

This has to be one of the easiest programs around – I just set up a couple of tables and gathered up all the art supplies we were trying to get rid of.  We set the program space up for an hour, but we’re already planning on offering our Crafternoon again for a whole afternoon as a drop-in program.

The kids were welcome to use whatever craft supplies were available to create whatever they wanted!  It was so exciting to see what the kids were interested in, how long they spent working on their projects and how they interacted with the other kids in the room.  We had kids working for the whole hour who could have kept creating, but we ran out of time.  We had a few kids work on a couple of projects while others focused on one project for the whole hour, but what was really exciting for me was that I didn’t once hear, “I’m bored!” or “I don’t know what to do!”

The kids were so excited to have open exploration of the art supplies and really enjoyed themselves!  I think, kids are often rushed from one activity to the next and are note given the time to relax and really spend some time creating.  I can’t wait to offer this program again, hopefully next month and for a whole afternoon instead of just an hour.

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