Monday, March 19, 2007

Honey or Vinegar

At the little branch with the big heart, I am responsible for planning free programs for teens and adults. There are lots of reasons to do this. A program attracts people to the Library (and they might decide they like us and come back), it supports local arts and culture by providing a venue for people to perform/read their writings, it gives people information on a topic through a means that is an alternative to printed information.

Sometimes the programs fly and sometimes they flop. We're always scheming to figure out a topic that will attract people. I've been doing this in bits here and there for years at the Library, and I think I've got a handle on what attracts adults, but teens are pretty much still a mystery. I was such a geeky teen, that all my internal radar is faulty. For example, if someone advertised a free program on 'be an archaeologist for a day' and come dig in the dirt behind the Library under the direction of trained excavators, I'd be right in there. But everyone that I bounce the idea off, who happens to be the parent of a teen or teens, says 'pitch that idea to 8-12 year olds'. So you see, I'm a victim of my own perkiness.

I was told that kids and teens around my branch are really into creative writing, and so we put together a teen poetry writing workshop on two Saturdays and advertised it city-wide - and got one registrant. So we cancelled it. Sigh. And yet, 'Making handmade soap', pitched at adults and teens together got 12 registrants easily, and 'Learn to play chess' got fourteen people of all ages to come as a drop-in program without even taking registration. It's mystifying.

My next plan is a series of 'handmade' programs for Wednesday afternoons in the summer, and I'm going to pitch it to adults and teens together to make sure I get the numbers. I'm very excited about it, because we have come up with some cool ideas. 'Make your own backyard bubbling fountain', anyone? How about 'wind chimes made out of old silverware'? I'm pumped. And obsessed with getting winner topics. And pleased to heck with myself when I strike gold.

Jim has only one word for me in this state: 'megalomaniac'. (And if this sounds bad, you should see him roll his eyes when I talk about my plans for the storytime I signed myself up for once a month.) It's my cross to bear, I guess.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about a book club for teens? A library I frequent has about 12 or so teens that regularly show up for books ranging from vampire reads to scifi including reads like When Zachary Beaver came to town by Kimberly Willis Holt and Silent to the bone by E. L. Konisburg. What about a Graphic Novel Book Club for Teens?

How about a program on summer work/starting their own business?

Yeah, I know ... it's a tough one to figure!

All the best to you! I always enjoy your postings.

11:00 pm  
Blogger Carmi said...

I'd so be there for the wind chimes!

My wife the teacher loves what our little library branch has to offer. I think she spends as much time there as she does in class.

They really are the lifeblood of the community, and your writing about it reinforces why this is the case.

11:09 am  

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