This is sparking controversy around the Internet

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?

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And here’s the display:


One of my bosses called it one of the most eclectic displays we’ve had.  I think patrons are definitely drawn in by the diversity of titles included.  It’s fun to watch older people squint at the cards, then chuckle at the titles of the books that correspond to them.  Everything’s up there, from tax advice to mind control to junk collecting!  And they’re circ-ing!

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Dr. Who Choose Your Own Adventure

Here’s a program I put together for the library’s Dr. Who Day.  It was intended to be passive, but one of my co-workers and I led groups through the adventure twice throughout the afternoon.  It was also intended to be an adult program, but honestly, I don’t think the event attracted many adults.  A lot teens and kids ran through it.  The description and instructions follow.

Dr. Who Choose Your Own Adventure

A figure calling himself the White Guardian commissioned the 4th Doctor, K9, and Romana to find the six segments of the Key to Time, a cosmic artifact resembling a perfect cube that maintains the equilibrium of the universe. Once again, the forces balancing the universe are so upset that the White Guardian needs to recover the segments of the Key to stop the universe so that he can restore the balance.   However, the Daleks also hope to find the Key for their own nefarious purposes.

You have been recruited as companions of The Doctor to retrieve the six segments of the Key to Time. As you have no TARDIS of your own, you have been granted access to the Gallifreyan library, where you can travel through portals in the books to the worlds most likely to contain the fragments. Find the Key to Time and deliver it to the White Guardian before the Daleks find it.

You can embark on this adventure alone, with friends, or gather at the Reference Desk when you hear the TARDIS land to be guided through the adventure.


Begin at the Reference desk, where you will receive this log sheet and your first clue.

The Deadly Assassin

Read the description, then choose one of the three actions on the card.

Find the corresponding book using the call number associated with your chosen action.

homesfabricassaination vacation

Note on your log sheet the title of the book you found, the call number, and whether or not it contained a segment of the Key to Time.

If you find:

A Dalek or a Segment (purple square) – note down the title and call number, then choose another action from your clue card.











Another clue card – take the card out of the book, and put the card you’re holding into the same book for the next player.  (This needs to be reworked.  If you do this, the card that leads to the book will end up inside the book it leads to.  We ended up carrying around a stack of clue cards, and choosing another from our hand if we came across a clue card inside a book.)

Day of the Daleks

Continue until you have found six segments of the Key to Time. Then return to the Reference Desk. You will receive a raffle ticket for every five titles found, and an additional raffle ticket for locating six fragments.

Other than a few minor glitches, I think it ran pretty well.  Even the kids continued through to the end.  About 20 people ran through the adventure over two hours, based on the log sheets that were returned.   A few people tagged along with their friends without completing a log.  And a couple of the adults wanted to hang onto their logs so that they could go back and check out books later, which is precisely what I hoped would happen.

This program was educational, in that it taught patrons how to use the call numbers to find books for themselves, and reader’s advisory, as it got patrons into non-fictions collections they might not otherwise visit, and put their hands on books they didn’t even know they wanted.  And now that the event is over, I’ll think I’ll re-use the cards for a book display.

If you’d like to run this adventure in your own library, I’m willing to share the files, just drop me a line.  Of course, you’d have to tailor the call numbers and book titles to your own collection.

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Ogden Farmers’ Public Library

Last October, I made a road-trip back through my hometown of Rochester, NY to my grandparents’ farm, upstate, in Potsdam.  As I went, I revisited some of the libraries I grew up visiting, as well as some others, just to take a look at the way things are done elsewhere.  I’ll post some of my photos and thoughts here, starting with the Ogden Farmers’ Public Library located in the Village of Spencerport, Town of Ogden.

Out of all the libraries I visited on this trip, the Ogden Farmers’ Public Library reminded me most of the library I work at, the Greenwood Public Library.  Everything was bright and clean (regardless of my poor photography skills), with adequate space for study and reading.  The layout took into consideration the ways patrons would use the space.  And the collection certainly didn’t seem to lack anything.

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Reading area.

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New books. We’ve just switched ours from tall shelves to shorter ones like these, as well. At first, patrons thought we’d removed books from the section. But actually, we’ve got room for more, because they aren’t all faced out anymore.




Genealogy. The card catalog indexes all the names in the local high-school yearbooks, volume and page number. I found my father's. The shelves around it contain other local history documents and books.

Genealogy. The card catalog indexes all the names in the local high-school yearbooks, volume and page number. I found my father’s. The shelves around it contain other local history documents and books. Greenwood doesn’t have a genealogy section, only a small collection of highschool yearbooks, and drawer full of local leaflets. We tend to refer patrons to the Johnson County Historical Society.

Wall separating the children's area from the adult's.

Wall separating the children’s area from the adult’s.

Close-up of seating built into the wall.

Close-up of seating built into the wall.

Coffee machine next to the catalog.  Pods were on sale at the desk for $1.00.

Coffee machine next to the catalog. Pods were on sale at the desk for $1.00.

Community coupon board.  I'm stealing this!

Community coupon board. I’m stealing this!

The only two criticisms I would have would be A: the windows open to the tech services area;

On one hand, I think it’s great to let patrons see the work that goes on behind the scenes. But on the other, the functional disorder of a well-used work area contrasts with the immersive atmosphere of the rest of the library.

and B: the constricted space for teens.

Although, the library shares the building with the community center, so perhaps the teens have another outlet for more active programming.

This was my first stop on the trip, and I didn’t yet have quite a handle on the things I wanted to know more about.  I didn’t ask a lot heavy questions here, so I don’t really know how service-oriented the staff is.  But the woman I talked to at the desk was happy to tell me all about the coffee machine.  (Do I have my priorities straight, or what?)  They did have at least one large programming room that I didn’t take a close look at.  The Children’s area was at least a third of the size of the whole library.  I wish I had thought to take an exterior shot, as well as an open shot of the floor, over-all.  And I didn’t think to ask about programs and computer classes, either.

You can visit the Ogden Farmers’ Public Library’s website here:

Their policies are here:–forms.html

And their annual reports are here:


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This portfolio/blog was originally created as part of the practicum for completing my Library Technical Assistant Associate’s Degree, which I earned from Ivy Tech in 2012.  I have continued to update it with work samples from my courses as I earn my Masters in Library Science at IUPUI, from my previous job as a Student Clerk at Greenwood Public Library, and from my current position as a Public Services Associate II at the Indianapolis Public Library.  You can find those samples, my résumé, transcript, and competencies through the links at the right.  My thoughts, opinions, and projects regarding my profession can be found in the articles below.  I’m happy to hear from others in the library field, and welcome your comments and suggestions.

Please scroll down for my most recent work samples.

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