Awards and Celebrations

Awards and Celebrations:

Libraries attract a wide variety of users; ideally, they will attract everyone in the community, and that is where programming becomes a very powerful tool for libraries.  Programming serves a variety of purposes: advocacy and awareness, showing the community that the library is a dynamic and active place, promoting collections or authors and more.  Understanding the community your library serves and its needs is an essential component to programming, but Shay points out in The Twilight Zone: Bringing Youth into Libraries that we must survey our communities, not just hope our duplication of programs run by other libraries will be sufficient to attract our community members (Shay, 42).

Something that programming should do is not just attract people to the library, but also reach out to those who are not using the library by partnering with other community agencies who support community activities.  Library programming does not necessarily have to happen on the library premises; it can happen in the home of a senior, at the play group for new moms, at the drop in centre for new Canadians or even at the flu clinic. The caveat Anderson provides in Reaching Out: Programming and Partnerships is to keep outreach relevant, evaluate it and change it when necessary.

Of course, libraries have access to a wealth of celebrations and activities they can use to attract people to the library and promote the library and reading. Throughout the year are celebrations of literacy, book awards, authors’ birthdays, characters in books’ birthdays, literary celebrations, celebrations of the right to read and access to information, nation-wide reading programs. There are national and international events that nicely lend themselves to library programming (Earth day, National Aboriginal Day, volunteer week, Christmas, Hanukkah, Halloween, and more) and local celebrations that can be adapted to suit the library. Ultimately, you are limited by your imagination and what your community needs or wants.