New programming ideas. #16: 2011
Perhaps one of the most popular posts I write is the annual “what’s new in programming” issue. Being an intrepid trend spotter, I find it to be one of my favourites. At Guelph Public Library, we’ve been testing some interesting new programs to promote our amazing collections, as well as to make the library vibrant and an interesting place for customers to visit and revisit.
• Our ESL (English as a second language) Book Club and Discussion Circle is a runaway success. More than 8% of the Guelph population has a native language other than English (Chinese, Vietnamese, and Italian top the list). For new Canadians not yet employed, the public library is often a first point of access to the community. It’s not surprising that a book club for practicing English has been so well received.
• The successful eBook Petting Zoo allows folks to play with eBook readers and learn how to use our downloadable collection. 2011 is “the year of the eBook “at GPL, and our zoos have been growing steadily in popularity. We like eBooks!
• Knit and Lit is an adult program started in our smallest branch. Folks are invited to the library to knit and talk literature. We have 15 to 20 knitters who descend on the library once per week. Over the months, they have become some of our most vocal supporters. With the renaissance of knitting, this has been an extremely popular library program.
• In the “Royal” city of Guelph, we celebrated the royal wedding by opening the Main Library at 5 am, turning on the “tellies” in our living room, and inviting the community to enjoy the celebration. We were shocked when 78 folks joined us before the break of dawn. The lessons I learned early that morning were that not everyone has a television and that watching an event as a group is jolly good fun!
• Our displays, although not traditionally considered programs, have been enjoying new success. We could barely keep our “everything egg” display near the front door stocked with materials!
Programming needs to change as rapidly as the interests of our customers. With repeat visits, they are turning the library into a destination. We must keep our “front of house” interesting and continue to reach out and engage our customers if we are to remain a relevant and important part of their lives.
Kitty Pope #16 May 2011