Good advice or not, there’s probably a whole career’s worth of ideas for library programming, here. And I don’t mean defining isotopes. 🙂
A lot of these, especially the financial and health stuff, we already cover. And with regard to politics, I think there are restrictions about appearing to support one candidate or another that we have to work around. We haven’t done a whole lot with parenting, but I’m not a children’s librarian. Maybe they do more of that downstairs.
Sometimes discussions around programming can sound a little self-serving. How do we get patrons in the door, get them to engage with the organization, to increase our numbers and make it easier to defend our worth and our budget? I’m not saying those things aren’t important. But our patrons don’t care much about them – maybe somewhat, in an abstract way. (They’d be sad if we closed!) The focus on these goals takes our focus off the patrons. Why do people want to know this stuff? And what are they looking to take away from our programs? And then, how do those motivations shape the programs and activities we’re trying to provide?
BoyInABand’s argument(and his anger, and his enthusiasm) makes me consider why and how to offer various programs, as opposed, simply, to what programs to offer. I think it’s a pretty common sentiment that schools aren’t teaching the things that are most important. And I think people have a pretty good sense of what things they wish they knew more about for the sake of improving their circumstances. So how do we best present information so that patrons recognize what they’ll be walking away with? I don’t think it’s just about providing access to information in a program format. I’m thinking about my co-worker’s financial, health, and legal programs that have been pretty successful. How do we apply those models to other subjects?
Plenty to think about. Current events and recent history I think would make for amazing programming. I was in a class last semester where the oldest students (other than me) were arguing that they remembered what life was like before 9/11 because they were eight when it happened. There’s a chance for some real education there! 😉 I wonder if I could get a couple of local political bloggers to come in and talk about local affairs?