A fine article about program partnerships between libraries and local businesses or popular media in the May/June 2012 issue of Public Libraries (the official magazine of the Public Library Association) in the “Tales From the Front” department (see below for the citation): “By adding new elements to an existing idea, these libraries have created successful programs unique to the needs of their communities.” Here are a few:
- Disney on Ice Book Drive (Jacksonville, Florida). Anyone who donated three children’s books to the drive received a free voucher for one ticket to the opening night of the Disney On Ice: Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 at the Veterans Memorial Arena. Jacksonville Public Library has also partnered with Broadway Across America Artist Series to offer programs tied to Beauty and the Beast and Jersey Boys.
- Mad Men Mania(Long Island, New York).
Participants at the Mad Men Discussion group at the Half Hollow Hills Community Library watch the first season of Mad Men together and then discuss the show. In the future, the library plans to touch on such topics as women’s rights, and 1960s politics and culture.
- Flash Reading Mob (Fort Collins, Colorado). Poudre River Public Library held a flash reading mob in the community’s Old Town Square in conjunction with Drop Everything and Read Day. Clifford the Big Red Dog and the library mascot Annie the Dog also made appearances.
- Hunger is Not a Game (Farmington and Aztec, New Mexico). These two libraries partnered with ECHO Food Bank to sponsor a food drive by placing donation bins in both libraries. Donors had a chance to enter a drawing for books and prizes, and the local movie theater had a special showing of the movie The Hunger Games.
- Teen Iron Chef (Arlington Heights, Illinois). The library partnered with Whole Foods to hold an Iron Chef competition for teens. The secret ingredient, the apple, was announced the day of the competition.
I share this article and these examples because I think it is often hard to come up with new ideas for programs, and these are great examples of partnering with local businesses or organizations, which makes their benefits twofold: they bring people in, and strengthen ties to the community. Maybe they’ll give you some new ideas. Or, post a Comment below about something great you’ve done at your library. I think public libraries should share their good ideas for programs with each other (I think we do a better job of this with programs for children.)
For further reading:
- Sze, Lian, “Tales From the Front: Taking Ideas to the Next Level.” Public Libraries May-June 2012: 10-12.
- South Central Library System’s wiki for sharing program ideas.
- WebJunction programming page