This March, EDSITEment focuses on Women’s History Month; offers a new lesson on the Magna Carta, a new unit on early American foreign policy, and a new launchpad on Benjamin Franklin; takes a look back at March 1968; highlights some of the best humanities on the web; and shares this month’s don’t-miss programs on PBS’s American Experience.
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Many libraries want to introduce STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) into their programming to attract new audiences and help stimulate children’s interest in science. You will learn about the STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net) led by the National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) at the Space Science Institute. STAR_Net Librarians and others who are successfully programming STEM will also share their strategies for connecting with community resources.
This February, EDSITEment offers a collection of Black History Month resources, takes a look at the history-changing events of February 1968, goes on a Flight to Freedom, builds a fire with Jack London, introduces the members of Thoreau’s Circle, and celebrates Presidents’ Day.
Black History Month
While the Civil War was all about conflict, as programming librarians we’re all on the same side now—facing the challenge of getting more patrons into our libraries to enjoy the diverse, quality programming we offer. Rural libraries, though, may face a few additional challenges in programming—limited resources, increased travel expenses in bringing in speakers or programs—but there’s a silver lining, too. Your library can become the cultural center of the community or region without having a lot of competition from other venues.
The act of planning programs is a big job with a lot to consider. Where will you have your program? How big is the space? Do you need to limit guests; will you need to have them register ahead of time? Will weather or parking spaces be factors? Can you choose a date and time when there are not too many other conflicts for your target audience? How much staff time or money will you need? How will you evaluate the program’s success afterward? These are just some of the questions you need to answer as you plan.
We’ve all been there. You plan a great program, and only a handful of people show up—or no one does. Maybe something that has always done well in the past mysteriously fails to draw an audience. Maybe you start something new specifically because someone asked for it—and still it doesn’t get off the ground. You’re doing everything you can think of and everything your schedule and your budget allow to promote your events to potential audiences. How can you draw people to your programs?
I’m writing from outside the library world to talk about something powerful that can happen inside the library. I work with the Project on Civic Reflection, a national organization that helps get reflective discussion going in order to build community and deepen people’s understanding of their fellow community members and themselves. Over the past several years, what my colleagues and I generally work for outside the library has started to happen in very promising ways inside the library.