Libraries and library staff are constantly in the process of expanding and adapting services in order to remain responsive to their varied user communities. As part of this trend, there is an increasing emphasis on providing a wide variety of programs and events; this service expansion has been met with broad enthusiasm by library users everywhere.
Great Library Events: From Planning to Promotion to Evaluation, with its holistic approach to program provision, serves as an indispensable companion for anyone responsible for event or program planning in their organization. The guide moves through a program’s lifecycle, beginning with the initial steps of defining an event’s scope, ensuring inclusivity, and constructing measurable objectives. It follows with practical considerations such as finding funding, publicizing, assessing outcomes, reporting, and using data to keep the program cycle going. To support each of these steps, and to help ensure successful initiatives, practical examples, templates, and tools are provided throughout.
While this book is aimed at library managers and programming staff, it will be helpful for anyone responsible for event or program planning in their organization, whether they are new to the task or seasoned professionals.
Mary Grace Flaherty is assistant professor at the School of Information & Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her PhD in information science & technology from Syracuse University where she was an IMLS fellow. She earned her MLS from the University of Maryland and MS in behavioral science from Johns Hopkins University and is a Fulbright scholar. Flaherty has over 25 years’ experience working in a variety of library settings, including academic, medical research, special and public. She has published in the academic literature in journals such as Library & Information Research (LISR); Library Quarterly; Public Library Quarterly; Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet (JCHI); Journal of Community Health; Reference Services Review; and the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science.
Her books include Promoting Individual and Community Health at the Library (American Library Association, 2018) and The Library Staff Development Handbook: How to Maximize Your Library’s Most Important Resource (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), which received a starred review in Library Journal and was "Book of the Week," in Against the Grain
Chapter 1: Planning
Chapter 2: Funding
Chapter 3: Marketing and publicizing events
Chapter 4: Evaluation and performance measures
Chapter 5: Reporting the results
Chapter 6: Using evaluation data to inform service provision
Chapter 7: The Lifecycle of Library Programming
Events and programs have been the cornerstone of library services since the inception of the public library system. Flaherty examines the history of library events and carefully breaks down the necessary elements of planning and hosting a great event. Examining these components, the author outlines ways that events serve both specific and general communities and how to provide inclusive services. In addition to a list of ready-made themes for programs, Flaherty also includes checklists, evaluation guides, thoughtful sources, and even sample budgets to provide a comprehensive outline. By breaking down the building blocks of a library event (Planning, Funding, Marketing, Evaluation, Reporting—each chapter is titled accordingly), the author provides a step-by-step process for a successful event. Flaherty has created an invaluable reference for librarians hoping to revitalize their programs, library students seeking to understand the planning process, and perhaps even those who might wish to contribute to library events by volunteering, funding, or through marketing. Flaherty includes a brief, useful summary of each chapter at the end along with references. The way she has organized the text is as well-conceived as the way one might organize a great library event.
In Great Library Events Flaherty provides an in-depth look at planning library events. Flaherty goes into detail about the process—from idea generation to final reporting. There are many examples from different types of libraries, along with tables and detail about the various decisions made and considered. The reporting chapter shows how the program’s impact can be shared with different stakeholders and be used to help the library. Among the strongest elements are the examples of how libraries pivoted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which happened as Flaherty was working on the book. Recommended… Professionals.
This book was sent to press during the COVID-19 pandemic. With illustrated examples of successful and creative events, we come to understand that “the primary lesson learned during these unprecedented times is the need for flexibility and adaptability, no matter how carefully we have planned.” Especially during these times, libraries have had to research alternative ways to respond to the needs of their patrons. Pivoting from in-person to virtual events in and of itself created challenges and opportunities. The sharing of ideas throughout the book makes this a must-have for event planners…. Overall, this book is thoroughly researched and provides a comprehensive guide to planning and executing programs on a variety of ideas to a wide array of audiences. I recommend this book to public, consumer health, academic, and medical library staff who desire to host successful library events.
Dr. Mary Grace Flaherty has a fantastic knack for simplifying the many tasks involved in developing library events. And by setting these tasks, for her readers, within the context of community needs, Mary Grace ensures that library events are effective and deliver value!
Emphasizing community engagement and responsiveness to funders, library users, and other stakeholders, this book powerfully connects programming to organizational mission and long-term goals. Practical information and tools on planning, assessment and reporting demonstrate how to strengthen this connection, giving librarians the confidence to think big and courageously about programming.
This practical guide to library programming offers solid structures and sound advice, from planning and publicizing to fundraising and evaluation, that will be useful to new and experienced librarians alike. Flaherty’s pragmatic approach includes real-life examples from a variety of sizes and types of libraries, and discusses pivoting to virtual programs and considerations of sustainability. Carefully curated resources add to the valuable information and inspiration that will lead librarians to be responsive to their communities and deliberate and intentional in their program choices.
10/18/21, Booklist: The “Professional Reading Roundup” for Fall 2021 included Great Library Events