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Adult Programming Ideas

September 8, 2006

Jean Anderson
Adult Services Librarian
Sun Prairie Public Library

Who, What, Where, When and Why of Adult Programming

Jazz at the Library

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What is Adult Programming?

Definitions may vary by library, but mine is:

To provide programming for library patrons over the age of 18.

Why do Adult Programming?


Does your library have space to offer programs?


Are afternoon, evening or weekend programs more appropriate for your library?

Can you offer programs when the library is closed?

When will your patrons come to the programs?


Do you have the staff to offer programming?

Do you have the $ to hire performers or offer honorariums to presenters?

Can you use volunteers?


Art at the Library

What is your target audience?

Seniors? Parents? Students? Baby Boomers? Ethnic group? ESL patrons?

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Types of programming to offer - just to name a few

How to make your programming $ go farther

Partnerships with other organizations (usually nonprofits)

How to make your programming $ go farther

Kinky Friedman

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Putting on a successful program

Free food!

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Program planning - steps

Program planning - continued

Program planning - continued

Program day


In addition to the standard evaluation questions, always include room and ask for patron suggestions or ideas for future programs

Hand out at the end of every program

READ them afterwards

Create a database to keep track of suggestions


Ask program attendees what they thought of program

Talk with presenter about how program went

Ask staff for any feedback given from patrons

Thank you note

Program promotion

Success Stories

Kinky Friedman poster

What made the program successful?

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Program Failures

Reasons for a failure?

Resources for planning adult programs

Adult Programs in the Library by Brett W. Lear. American Library Association, 2002

Creating Policies for Results: from chaos to clarity by Sandra Nelson and June Garcia. American Library Association, 2003

Cultural Programming for Libraries: linking libraries, communities, & culture by Deborah a. Robertson. American Library Association, 2005

Resources for planning adult programs, cont'd

5-Star Programming and Services for your 55+ Library Customers by Barbara T. Mates. American Library Association, 2003

Developing Community Programming presented by Jennifer Mahnken from the Johnson County (Kansas) Library on July 21, 2006

Thank you!


Jean Anderson
Adult Services Librarian
Sun Prairie Public Library

jfanders at

This presentation was created in HTML using CSS. Thanks to Jessamyn West for the layout & stylesheet. See source code for details.

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