Friday, March 28, 2014


Programming work for kids is usually an on-going balancing act. Almost all libraries offer storytimes. Beyond that, no matter how small or large a library, figuring out how to fit in outreach, programs beyond storytime, school age programs, stealth and DIY programs is a constant challenge. In terms of doing service to school-agers, the class tackled that balance and came at it from a couple of different ways.

Schools are key - outreach visits, collaborations or partnerships or in-services for the teachers are just a few of the ways we create quality school age services with schools and kids.

Program frequency - not all programs (in house and outreach) need to be weekly or even monthly. Finding a balance and creating a schedule that balances ages, program types, breaks and other work can help serve many without creating burn-out.

Unique communities - knowing your community and the unique needs really helps to suggest where to create emphasis in program plans

Open communication - keeping parents and families up to date with what's happening helps keep the information flowing and provides great feedback.

Big breaks - if you have a huge demand for school visits or outreach requests during a certain month, consider suspending all other programs that month (or setting u a monthlong passive program) and concentrating on the outreach to avoid split shifts, overlong shifts and staff burn-out.

Know your goals - being aware of where you want to be and how you want to represent the library helps in deciding what outreach events to attend that make sense for the library.

Meet people where they are - instead of forcing people to choose between active programs or nothing at all during the school year, consider active and DIY programs to engage school age kids.  

Graphic courtesy of Pixabay

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