Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fall Programming Preview 2011

Finally, that Fall preview I promised!

It has now been a year since I started going through the interview process to get my current job. In just over  two months (November 8th), I will mark my first year actually working in the job. Over the last 10 months, I have learned a lot about what makes this community tick, and what kinds of programs they enjoy and want to attend. The last 7 months since we opened this new building have been especially educational, and I think this Fall, it's finally all coming together.

Story Time Changes.
The first change I made as summer reading came to a close was to revisit the age groups I was targeting with my various weekly story times. I took a look at who was actually attending story time at certain points in the week and adjusted accordingly. Family Story Time became Preschool Story Time, Baby Lap Time because Baby/Toddler Lap Time, and Tales for Fours and Fives, which never really caught on this summer in the first place, was eliminated. We are in the second week with these changes now, and it feels like things have really improved.

The New Baby Lap Time.
I also took on yet another project. Our baby/toddler story times are so huge, and so overwhelming for a lot of little ones, that I decided to offer a registration-only baby lap time. This program will run for six weeks, beginning in mid-September, and has been limited to 15 families per session. I'm limiting the age group to birth to 18 months, but I was somewhat lenient, and let in a few who are 19 and 20 months as well, because I know some of these families really don't like the loud and raucous story times we have the rest of the week, and I want them to have positive experiences here.

The response has been very strong, and so far it seems like 15 was the ideal number. We're three weeks away from starting and both sessions are full, but only three families are on a wait list, and it seems likely that I will just squeeze them in. I have a baby doll prop that my mom got for me from a kindergarten teacher she works with, and I'm working on organizing my six-week "curriculum." I am really excited to start and see how it goes, with the hope that we can repeat the same kind of program this Winter.

School-Age Programming.
Last but not least, I programmed for elementary school and middle school kids more heavily this season than any other so far. This should be my strong suit, given how much of these programs I did at my previous library, but we had smaller groups and more money there than we do here, so it's hard to compare them. Kids in this neighborhood are also very busy; music lessons, martial arts, tutoring, and other extracurricular activities keep them busy in the after school hours. Most parents seem to prefer the "grab and go" approach to borrowing books, and few families linger in the library. But the library system wants school-age kids coming in, so I'm doing my best to drum some up! Our first craft program is later this week, on Thursday. Kids in Grades K-3 will make pencil toppers and listen to a couple of back to school books. I'm really nervous about it, because I hate it when no one shows up, but I'm trying my best to promote it and stay positive! I've also got a magnetic poetry project for grades 4-8 later on in September.

So that's mainly what's going on here. I've also got a bunch of new flannel boards to share on upcoming Flannel Fridays, and I've introduced some new songs and rhymes. It's nice to  feel like I finally have ownership over my department, and I think things will only continue to improve from here.

How's your Fall looking? Share what you're looking forward to - or dreading - in comments!

1 comment :

  1. I can certainly relate to your comments about pre reader and school age programming. Initially I had a preschool storytime and toddler time. Now I have the toddler time (ages 2-3) Mother Goose (babys 5 months and up) and the occasional Preschool Craft and story. I found this combination seems to work best for our community.

    As for school age programs, we are in a similar type of community to yours. We don't get as many kids obviously as the summer, but we get a fair amount of regulars for the programs. We can get even more kids if it is a special type of program other than the regular craft. I am trying to offer some different programs and offer some programs in the evening to try to attract more kids-Michelle M.


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