Monday, March 24, 2014

Formula for School-Age Programming Success?

We started looking at how to create balance in the many types of program offerings for school age kids (active, passive, DIY, outreach) and what strategies we might pursue. Luci Bledsoe of Johnsom Creek (WI) Library shared her thought process.

Strategies = time x staff + money ÷ students x program types - stress = balance

No, it doesn't  make sense. I was just trying to put all the components of school age programming together and this is the equivalent of doodling with a pen and paper. Can you tell I have writer's block? However, strategies for creating balance with school age programming would include: 

Staff time...for brainstorming...setting goals...organizing...assigning prep work…publicizing, etc.

Money...what will each program cost? Is there money in the budget? Is there a budget? Divide the cost of the program by the number of potential participants.  Will this be viable, worth doing again?

Theme... would we be more effective if we kept the theme but did the program at the local center....Boys and Girls Club?

Passive...can we get our message across by doing passive programming? If we build it, will they come? Or should we put out all the cardboard, paper towel tubes, markers, glue, scissors, and paper, and let the kids build it?

Schools...if we contact the school in September, could we get permission to visit each classroom? Or have September as our Take a Tour of the Library Month, invite all teachers to bring their classes to the library.  Set up a tour day for home schooling families. Contact Scout leaders and 4-H leaders and extend the same invitation.  During that month, we would not have any regularly scheduled programs like preschool story hour.  What would we say to a request for a tour in February?

Partners...should I talk with the school media specialist or librarian and see if we could do some joint programming:  such as a celebration for Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

Early the school principal.  Could I attend their early childhood screening or their kindergarten screening and hand out information about the library and our “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” program? there more than one library staff member? Could one of us plan the passive programs? Could another be in charge of the active programs such as the LEGO club? Would this reduce stress if we all take responsibility?

Balance..will strategies like this help achieve a balance in school age programming so that we offer different types of programs and thereby reach more families? 

I think so!

Graphic courtesy of Pixabay

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