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Big programming ideas for small budgets

CHICAGO — When you’re a solo librarian or only have a few volunteers to rely on (with a tiny budget to match) you’ve got to make the most of everything. With creativity, flexibility, and heart, you can offer programming that engages people of all ages and backgrounds. “209 Big Programming Ideas for Small Budgets,” published by ALA Editions in partnership with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL), shares ideas and guidance for being the anchor your community needs. Chelsea Price, whose library serves a town with a population of less than 300, shares dozens of ideas that have helped to triple attendance numbers in a three-year period, alongside many more suggestions from other libraries across the country. You‘ll learn how fun and easy DIY programming can be, inspiring you to:

  • use passive programming like scavenger hunts and Lego towers to engage your patrons no matter when they visit your library;
  • adapt one of the dozens of low- or no-cost programs included, from library decorating parties and teen taste-tests to a local history night and a mini-golf tournament;
  • celebrate the different seasons of the year with ideas tied to a variety of holidays;
  • jump-start your outreach efforts by partnering with health clinics, museums, restaurants, local businesses, and other organizations and individuals in your community;
  • collaborate with your school district through initiatives like reading challenges and information literacy field trips;
  • get the word out using fliers, advertising, word of mouth marketing, your library’s website, and social media; 
  • avoid burnout and deal with stress, with suggestions for self-care and reinvigoration; and
  • host a benefit, launch a fundraising drive, or apply for grants using the tips and information provided in the book.

Price has been the library director in Meservey, Iowa, since 2015. She has presented at the Kids First Conference in Des Moines, Iowa and the ARSL Conference in Springfield, Illinois, and has also presented webinars for the Programming Librarian website and the Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference. She also writes regularly for the Programming Librarian blog.

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