Wednesday, July 1, 2009

250 Words: Programming

Library programs promote use of the Library. Book clubs, story-times, show-and-tell, exhibits, and more, encourage people to come to the Library to find relevant information. Provided, of course, the program actually promotes using the Library. Programs which attract people without encouraging them to use the collection may enhance numbers but do little to persuade them to come back.

Programming is part of the Position Description for Librarian. ("7. Designs and presents programs and presentations and accompanying materials.") Classifications which may do programming include: Librarian (51), Library Associate (2.5), Library Program Specialist (3), Library Services Specialist (1), Literacy and Homework Center Supervisor (1), and Trainer (1). This means every Librarian in the system may do programs. But then, every Librarian in the system may do cataloging, too.

Does it matter if the staff person is trained to do programming? All Librarians are trained Librarians. Not all are trained for, or have the personality to do, programming. Generally speaking, a person does not become a Librarian to do programming.

Programs are not classes. They may instruct, but are meant to excite more than teach. The purpose of a Library program is to draw people into using the Library. The benchmark of a successful Library program is whether the participants come back to use the Library regularly.

One of the statistics kept, whcih impresses the Board, is the number of programs done during a period of time. The types of programs are not are not revealed to the Board.

Does quantity trump quality?

Gerald F. Ward

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