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Beyond Database Instruction: Genealogy Programs for Patrons

rstarr's picture
Magnifying glass

Library databases are wonderful places for patrons to begin their genealogical journey — but what happens when they’ve exhausted their Ancestry.com search? And what will they do with all of the information they’ve acquired? With so many national observances honoring heritage, it’s always a good time to offer programs that help patrons trace their roots and showcase their histories. Here are four ways you can empower your patrons to tell their stories through programming.

Coding for Adults: Newbies Only

A computer screen with code

Coding for Adults was a no-experience-necessary introduction to HTML and CSS. Using resources found within Codecademy and Common Sense Media, the event required $0 beyond staffing. Attendees ranged from interested parents looking to understand what their children are learning in elementary school and college, to former 90s-era web developers, to others just looking to learn a new skill.

Quick Craft Cart

Quick craft bookmark cart

For libraries that lack space for programming and events, quick craft activities can be offered to patrons on a Quick Craft Cart. Supplies for making bookmarks and holiday cards are provided on a book cart, along with an example of the craft. It costs little money and takes up the room of a single book cart. Perfect for smaller libraries! We offered our craft cart during our Holiday Open House so more patrons would be around to take part, and did so again with an Easter egg bookmark craft, which were made by approximately 15 people. 

Pioneer Life

A pioneer home

Pioneer Life is a monthly lunchtime program in which participants learn how things were done in the pioneer days. Local artisans demonstrate crafts such as knife-making, basket-weaving, quilting, spinning and soap-making.

Film Screenings 101

kkelly's picture
A spoken word artist introduces the documentary From Mambo to Hip Hop.

Movies are a popular way to engage students with real-life stories and situations connected to what they’re learning in class or experiencing in their personal lives. At University of Dayton Libraries, the diversity and inclusion team sponsors our frequent film screenings and series. Recently, our film screenings have undergone some changes in subject matter, genre and supplemental programming, and the results have been fantastic. Below I’ll list the five things to take into consideration for planning a successful film screening in your library or on campus, in five acts.

Iditarod Immersion

A sled dog in the woods

The Iditarod — a long-distance sled dog race — begins the first Saturday of March in Anchorage, Alaska. I have been able to teach technology skills, research skills, geography and history through teachings about the race. Students get excited when they find out that the race includes dogs! I ask all teachers to try to include some aspect of the Iditarod in their curriculum during these months. Depending on the grade and class composition, I create projects for the students that include all of the elements of "the last great race."

Silver Fox Audiobook Club

Silver Fox Audiobook Club

The Silver Fox Audiobook Club is an ongoing book club that meets every Friday morning to listen to and discuss audiobooks of interest to its participants, clients of a local senior care center. Upon completing a book, the club meets at the library to watch the movie companion to the book and discuss the differences between the book and the film.

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