Saturday, February 15, 2014

Aieeee! Program Challenges

While programming can be great fun, it also has it's share of frustrations and challenges.  This week, we shared not only what we love but also the darker side of our program work - the things that can be discouraging.

These include:

  • lack of transportation - kids are dependent on adults to get them to the library
  • attendance uncertainty- either no one or waaaay too many people
  • lack of time - juggling so many responsibilities, it is difficult to devote sufficient time to planning
  • families having so many options available, they are "over-programmed"
  • lack of adequate funding and tireless fight to secure it
  • lack of dedicated programming space
  • lack of appreciation (your prizes aren't good enough...even when books are the prize!)
  • politics of borders and fees - families who are in other districts/systems not able to access your services without paying a fee
  • changing demographics - declining child population
  • economic struggles of families - many families are struggling and while the library is free, gas isn't
  • PR efficacy - the word isn't getting out despite traditional AND creative PR work
  • cost of outside performers
  • burn-out
  • how to reach out to non-library users
  • administration/board not supportive
  • colleagues who don't program because they aren't interested or have given up
As we shared our frustrations, classmates also shared support and suggested possible solutions  (like partnering with schools and after school care programs, outreach, working with buses, ideas for PR). And just about everyone felt strongly that the positives far outweigh the negatives in their programming work.

Do these difficulties sound familiar?  What do YOU struggle with?  Leave a comment and let us know!

Image courtesy of Pixabay


  1. I've worked with my school district very successfully to get the library added as a bus stop for program days. I'll work on a blog post with the nitty gritty details and let you know when it posts.
    I recently wrote about using Eventbrite to get kids registered for events and include the unattended children's policy. Could be helpful to your class:

  2. Thanks for sharing Lisa! I hope some of my students - working librarians all - will share some of their ideas o n the blog too!