One way to create flexibility in a research framework is to build upon an individual library’s current strengths and experience. The advisors noted the importance of relating research studies to library institutional engagement and strategic planning, allowing libraries to participate in those studies that best align with their own strategic priorities. Such an approach would help mitigate differences in sizes, types, and locations of libraries, so that each might build from its predetermined priorities.
Much thoughtful conversation also explored how libraries might be able to define their own areas of expertise and decide how they might both give and receive through a multi-part research framework. Asking, “What can I contribute?” or “Here’s what I need to learn that is outside my comfort zone,” could be an effective way to self-define an entry point into the research framework. Working from each library’s current needs could help level the field among library types and sizes in attaining strong across-the-board participation. It might surface a number of promising practices that can inform the research framework. In addition, early adopters of some of the new program ideas and formats might likewise step up and provide initial data upon which to build.
What are your library’s greatest strengths and weaknesses in regard to programming?
Read responses and provide your own feedback using the comment box below. Comments are moderated and will be posted within 24 hours. Please let us know whether you would like to make your comments public or keep them private.
Front line staff who interact on a daily basis with the public is a major strength. A librarian who spends most of her time on planning, hosting, and promoting our programs, as well as other staff members who are willing to take responsibility for a program. For example, we have an Adult Programming Team that shares some of that responsibility in the same way that our children’s services librarians do. Other strengths include: personnel with artistic and cultural backgrounds, a budget that allows us to host programs that are of high caliber, good communication with interested community members through our web site, email newsletter, press coverage, in-house promotion, high quality print materials, as well as press coverage.
One of the strengths of our library is that it is considered the hub of academic life, and is perceived as a neutral space which belongs to the entire campus. Hence, it is relatively easy to form partnerships with other academic departments and organizations. Existing campus support mechanisms can also be used – the Public Relations Department helps with marketing and publicity, and the Conference Services helps with equipment and catering needs. One of the weaknesses is that there is no job description or position for a programming librarian, and no funds are especially allocated for these programs.
Another weakness is that the role of the library is not exclusive for either holding or bringing out programs. There are several other interested groups on campus who hold programs, and some of these programs may conflict with the times and days of the library programs. This leads to a dispersed audience with fewer people attending each program.
We are blessed with management that is supportive of new ideas and is eager to increase the types of audiences we serve. Our budgets allow us to provide good programming to the community. We have a very talented promotions department that does a good job about getting the word out about our various programs. Although the community we serve is fairly small, we have close proximity to a major metropolitan area, so we are able to bring in performers and scholars from this larger city without incurring huge travel expenses.