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Not Too Cool for School: 5 Ways to Partner Up with Your School District

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Back end of a school bus set against some trees and sky

A partnership between a public library and a school district seems like a no-brainer, right? After all, we both have the same basic goals when it comes to students: to create and nurture in them a love of learning. However, many libraries – particularly small, rural libraries – don’t actually have much of a relationship with their school district.

Relight Your Programming Fire: Websites for Inspiration

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Hand holding a lightbulb against a pink and blue sky

Have you read my recent post on job burnout yet? After I wrote it, a lot of you reached out to me to learn more about the resources I use to relight the fire of my passion for programming.

There are so many amazing blogs, websites and webinars out there that it can be hard to know where to start. Without further ado, here are a few of my favorites (aside from Programming Librarian, of course!).

Tiny Library, Big Carnival

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Sign for the Meservey Carnival

When I started as library director in the tiny town of Meservey, I never thought we would be able to pull off large-scale programs like libraries in big cities did. Those types of programs aren’t in our budget, and it’s hard enough getting good attendance at our smaller events. The payoff, I figured, probably wouldn’t be worth all of the money and time spent. 

I am thrilled to admit that I was wrong, and that tiny libraries like mine can, in fact, have big events that are just as successful as a library 10 times their size.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Programs: 6 Ways to Get More Funding for Your Library

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Meservey Public Library

In our tiny library, we are forced to think hard about every financial decision we make. Can we afford to book that pricey performer for our summer reading program? Should we be subscribing to magazines if only a couple of people are reading them? Do we need to have snacks at every event? Every dollar counts, and we must stretch that dollar as far as we possibly can, particularly when it comes to programming. 

Small-Town Library, Big-Time Author: How a Town of 240 Lucked into a Visit from Elizabeth Berg

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Author Elizabeth Berg hugs a girl at her Meservey Public Library visit

When I started as library director in March 2015, I made a list of programs, fundraisers and events that I wanted to plan at some point. The list was pages long and included things like an outdoor potluck, a dinosaur park and an '80s-themed prom. About halfway down the list I wrote “Elizabeth Berg book signing – LOL.”

That's "LOL" as in "That's hilarious. Why would a bestselling author visit our little library?!” Little did I know that only a few years later, I would be welcoming Elizabeth Berg herself into our tiny town.

Learning from Program Flops (Or, Sometimes Programs Fail ... and that's OK!)

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Pouring coffee into a mug that says "ugh"

We've all been there — the crafts are set up, the snacks are out, and you’ve got your programming director hat on. You're prepared for a great turnout … and then nobody shows up.

It's a huge letdown to be excited about a program only to have zero attendance. You wonder what you did wrong, why no one was interested. It's easy to get down on yourself.

8 Ways to Save Money on Programming in a Tiny Library (Part 2)

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A group of women lined up in the library

In last month's post, "8 Ways to Save Money on Programming in a Tiny Library (Part 1)," I offered four strategies that have helped me stretch my small programming budget to its limits. I talked about looking to friends and family for free programming; tapping resources in your community; partnering with other organizations; and turning your own passions into programs.

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