NYLA Workshop: Creative Programming for the Frugal Librarian

Last Friday I was able to attend one day of the New York State Library Association's Annual Conference in Saratoga Springs, New York.  One of the workshops I attended was Creative Programming for the Frugal Librarian by Lisa Forrest of Buffalo State.

In the times of cut budgets, this workshop was particularly important to librarians, as was seen by participants outnumbering the chairs in the room.  Lisa started the session by discussing how librarians need to change the perception of libraries just being a building full of books to "a lively space for engaged learners."  It is our job as librarians to engage our patrons in their quest for knowledge.  We are all educations, teaching information literacy daily.

One of the best ways to engage patrons is through programming.  There are many programs that can be run for free or on a slight budget, such as book clubs, workshops, discussions and collaborations with other groups in the area.  Lisa focused most of her examples on the Rooftop Poetry Club at Buff State.  It is a tremendous example of what can be done with a small budget, a passion for the subject and collaboration with other groups.  Not only does this group attract college students, but members from the community of Buffalo.  It makes me wish I still lived in the area.

I highly encourage you to look around the site.  All of the programming has been archived and is available on various social networks.  Lisa said that this program has given her a personal connection with her patrons.  They now know she is a person, with a name, who is there to help them, not just a scary librarian they do not want to bother or are afraid of.

The overall theme of using your passions to drive programming is very exciting to me.  After taking an older adult programming class at Syracuse University, it really made me want to be in charge of programming after graduation.  Whether in a public library setting or a historical society, the idea of being able to use programs to advance patrons knowledge and my own on a wide array of topics is now one of my goals, which this workshop has further solidified.

Lisa has created the blog Nothing to Lose: Frugal Ideas for the Creative Librarian, for librarians to share frugal programming ideas.

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