Library programs and events are things we do not only because we enjoy doing them, but because they fulfill a need in our community. I have, however, oftentimes heard a disgruntled colleague or two claim that programs do little to encourage the use of the library. This, of course, is a matter of philosophical debate in the profession and is not likely to be resolved anytime soon. I would argue — as, I suspect, would many of you — that programs are use of the library.
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Like Sam Cooke, I don’t know much about history. That’s where the comparison ends. Mr. Cooke was a wonderfully talented and charismatic individual, I am not. Even though I don't know as much about history as I'd like, I (like many other individuals) won’t turn down the opportunity to discover more. I suppose that may be one reason why history programs have been so successful at our library, especially local history programs. I discovered this by accident a long time ago and would like to take the time to share with you the story.
Those who know me know that I am quite the science fanatic. While I possess neither the technical skills nor the knowledge to actually pursue a career in science (I have the report cards to prove it), I do possess a deep-seated love and passion for scientific research and discovery in a variety of fields, including space, space travel and the search for potential life in outer space.
Arguably, one of the most challenging things about programming is getting the word out. We all create programs for the community, many of them successful. Some are not as successful as we would like due to attendance. This can be extremely frustrating. I can’t tell you how many times in my programming career I have felt the sting of low turnout. Now, “low turnout” may sound like a made up malady dreamt up by Big Pharma, but I am telling you, it is real.
All programs are about sharing. When we create or host a program, we share information, inspiration and ideas. Sometimes we even share a little about ourselves. This blog post is about working with a local business to bring a youthful passion of mine to a new generation and even bringing back some fond memories for my peers. For this, we will need to time travel just a little.
Ok, I’ll admit it. I don’t really know that much about genealogy, only that it is a hobby in which individuals trace their family histories. This appears to me to be a no-win situation, because I am always leery of what I could potentially discover. Would my family be a veritable rogues’ gallery of ne'er-do-wells that I would have to explain or apologize for? I could just imagine running into a fellow genealogical enthusiast at a local Jamboree and having to apologize to them AND their ancestors for the fact that my great-grandfather stole and ate some oxen from them in Jamestown!
Asian Pacific Heritage Month is coming up, and it always reminds me of why I started doing adult programming. It also makes me wonder, why do we program? The collective "we" I'm talking about are the "we" reading and writing for this blog, not the organizations we all work for. Oh, I can wax poetically about community engagement, raising the profile of the Library, and reaching non-users, which are all valid reasons. Organizations have lofty goals, which involve flights of fancy and destinations you won’t necessarily find on Google maps.