While ALA PPO supports libraries of all types, the experiences, scenarios, and discussions explored in the NILPPA project to date have mostly been in the public, academic, and special library realm. (School libraries and school library programs are not a focus of this agenda.) One may wonder how the question of “public” programming is relevant in non-public libraries; for the NILPPA advisory team, the question laid in the very definition of the word “public.”
The advisors concluded that, for the purposes of this research, “public” and “public programs” refer to the library’s public — the community the library serves or the audiences the library targets for its programs. For public libraries this may mean the whole community or, perhaps, seniors. In the case of academic libraries the public may be the student body, the chemistry department, or incoming freshmen. For a special library such as the Pritzker Military Museum & Library it may be veterans, servicemen, or veterans services organizations.
What “publics,” or populations, does your library
serve through programming?
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Our library serves the surrounding community, which is heavily hispanic. Thhis is reflected in our programming. However, we also provide programs and meeting space for writers, writers clubs and writing workshops. We have been doing this for approximately five years. Currently, we are working toward developing the same relationship with filmmakers that we have with writers.
We provide public programs to children and adults in general, but also to more specific groups like senior citizens, job seekers, veterans who wish to share their experiences through writing & discussion, ethnic groups celebrating their heritage, teens interested in East Asian culture, and more.
We serve a diverse community in terms of demographics, interests and need. We attempt to reflect that diversity in our public programming. As a part of our 2015 strategic initiatives, our programmatic priorities will reflect our strategic direction and targeted stakeholder groups, like the small business community, creative community and others that support initiatives that our community members have identified as important and aspirational.
Our immediate community is made of white and blue collar middle class families. Our area was primarily Italian/Irish/Jewish until very recently. New immigrant families from India and Pakistan and moving to East Meadow. Our programming is striving tyo keep up with the change. When I first came here 11 1/2 years ago, the programming base audience was made of senior citizens. Thougjh many of our attendees are over 65, it is a very different senior citizen. These are baby boomers with a very different mind-set from those a generatio ahead. So, technically, this audience is still a senior one, however we can not serve them the same way we did a few yearas ago.
We have a very strong YA programming schedule. We have found that teens come in for manga and anime. We have a weekly anime club, a monthly anime feature film, and EMcon, our anime fest, once a year.
Children’s programming is also healthy. We have shifted to many “family programs” which seem to be much appreciated.