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High Impact Programs on a Shoestring Budget


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A presentation that discusses how a medium-sized single location library can create dynamic and successful programs on a minimal budget. Presented in August 2008 to the Nevada Library Association.

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High Impact Programs on a Shoestring Budget

  1. 1. Janie L. Hermann, Princeton Public Library, Princeton, NJ Implementing High Impact Programs on a Shoestring Budget  NLA 2008  Bridging the Gap  Las Vegas, NV 
  2. 2. What is a Shoestring? Depends on a variety of factors such as overall size of operating budget, programming budget and total population served One library’s shoestring is another’s pot of gold Free (except for staff time) is the ideal shoestring budget program My Rule of Thumb: Under $200 for small libraries Under $400 for medium libraries Under $750 for large libraries
  3. 3. <ul><li>Defining Impact </li></ul><ul><li>Hard to define, but it is not just the actual attendance for one event or a series of programs. </li></ul><ul><li>Impact: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>resonates with the community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>reaches new users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>results in positive feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>raises visibility and awareness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rejuvenates interest </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The capacity to create a powerful effect. </li></ul><ul><li>-- Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus </li></ul>
  4. 4. Programming at Princeton Public Library Single-branch municipal library in heart of downtown State-of-the-art 58,000 square foot building opened in April 2004 Staff: 54 FTE Population: 31,000 Cross-departmental programming team comprised of 15 staff members Programming provided for all ages from infants to seniors “ Traditional” in-house programs as well as community outreach and virtual programs Number of Programs in 2007 1,718 Program Attendance 42,830
  5. 5. Expand How do you define programming ?
  6. 6. Rome wasn’t built in a day … Programming for adults takes time to grow – there will be failures as well as success along the way. Be patient. If you build it they will come (eventually).
  7. 7. High Tech, Low Cost Extend your programming reach with technology: Interactive blogs and wikis Podcasting Technology Talks Video and Photo Contests Gaming Nights Student Film Festival Customized Social Network
  8. 8. <ul><li>Virtual Poetry Program </li></ul><ul><li>Recorded and published a poet per day for National Poetry Month in 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Our own community and visitors from across the globe listened and commented </li></ul><ul><li>Attendance at the library’s monthly poetry readings went up significantly as a result </li></ul><ul><li>Local poets received great PR and requested we do it again in 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Podcasting for Free (or close to it) </li></ul><ul><li>The Princeton Method: </li></ul><ul><li>Purchase USB Microphone ($32.95) </li></ul><ul><li>Record and edit using Audacity (free) </li></ul><ul><li>Host files at the Internet Archive (free) </li></ul><ul><li>Post podcasts on a WordPress blog (free) </li></ul><ul><li>Staff Time ( varies greatly) </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>The Proof is in the Numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Poetry Podcast 2007: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>12,615 visits as of August 14 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4,994 visits in April 2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>32 visitors per day on average since the blog went live in April 2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>31 posts total with 59 comments </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Poetry Podcast 2008: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>5,320 visits as of August 14 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>359 visits on April 28 2008 (best day ever) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>125 visitors per day on average during National Poetry Month 2008 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>35 posts total with 95 comments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For more details on the PPL Poetry Podcast Blog visit: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Create an Interactive Adult Summer Reading Club for Free! Princeton Public Library used a wiki to capture reviews in 2006 (we now use the review feature in our online catalog). Many libraries have set up book review blogs and post reviews from members throughout the summer Steal this next idea – a video contest on YouTube!
  11. 11. Video Review Contest YouTube Channel: Free Prizes – donations may be possible, if not the cost is relatively low: Flip Video Camera $150 MP3 Players $50-$75 Benefits: Great PR Tool Interactive Encourages Creativity Promotes new Technology Fun!
  12. 12. <ul><li>Student Film and Video Festivals </li></ul><ul><li>Designed for high school and college students up to age 24 </li></ul><ul><li>Guidelines and call for entries posted via library web site and press release </li></ul><ul><li>Students submit completed films </li></ul><ul><li>Committee of volunteers screen and selects film </li></ul><ul><li>Films are viewed, often with filmmakers present, over several nights </li></ul><ul><li>Cost can vary from close to free to $500 or more depending on amount of PR and if prizes or t-shirts are given to participants </li></ul><ul><li>Susan Conlon won the VOYA MVP award for creating this program </li></ul><ul><li>For detailed Information See: </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Photo Contests </li></ul><ul><li>Not Just for Kids </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><li>reading favorite book </li></ul><ul><li>PPL’s “Red Bag” photo </li></ul><ul><li>Where is Thommy Ford? </li></ul><ul><li>Create a set on </li></ul><ul><li>for free or post directly to your web site </li></ul><ul><li>Digital cameras can be purchased for around $100 to use for contests </li></ul>
  14. 14. Create community, online conversations, virtual programs and promote library events and news by leveraging the power of to create a customized FREE social networking site for your library.
  15. 16. Become the Community’s Living Room Ongoing monthly programs build connections and create meaning Impact is not just high attendance – it is about creating something meaningful for those who attend Be open to all possibilities and build programs that can be self-sustained with the use of volunteers Examples at PPL: Scrapbooking Circle Socrates Café ESL Conversation Groups Book Journeys SCORE
  16. 17. Partnerships are Key Who can you work with to provide free, high quality programming? Almost Anyone! Theatres and Art Museums Colleges, universities and schools Poetry and writing groups Local clubs and community organizations Business and networking groups Computer Clubs
  17. 18. <ul><li>Annual Programs </li></ul><ul><li>Adult Summer Reading Club </li></ul><ul><li>Sounds of the Garden State Music Series </li></ul><ul><li>Princeton Reads </li></ul><ul><li>Princeton Environmental Film Festival </li></ul><ul><li>PPL Poet Podcast </li></ul><ul><li>Outreach </li></ul><ul><li>Citizenship Classes </li></ul><ul><li>Ask a Lawyer </li></ul><ul><li>Gente y Cuentos (People and Stories) </li></ul><ul><li>Senior Care Options </li></ul><ul><li>Engaged Retirement </li></ul><ul><li>SCORE Counseling </li></ul><ul><li>Literacy and ESL tutoring </li></ul>
  18. 19. <ul><li>Continuing Series </li></ul><ul><li>Comments from Campus </li></ul><ul><li>McCarter Live at the Library </li></ul><ul><li>World Cineclub </li></ul><ul><li>Art Talk </li></ul><ul><ul><li>cosponsored with the Princeton Arts Council </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Thinking Allowed (Princeton University Press) </li></ul><ul><li>SCORE Seminars for Small Business </li></ul><ul><li>Princeton Rep PlayLab </li></ul><ul><li>Voices Multilingual Poetry Night </li></ul><ul><li>National Issues Forum </li></ul><ul><li>Based on the Book Film Series </li></ul><ul><li>Princeton Festival Previews </li></ul><ul><li>Monthly Programs </li></ul><ul><li>Writers Talking </li></ul><ul><li>US 1 Poet Invite </li></ul><ul><li>Readings Over Coffee </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(45 th Anniversary Season) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Book Discussion Groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fiction, Mystery, Talking Politics, Spanish, Book Journeys </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Socrates Café </li></ul><ul><li>Read, Write and Share </li></ul><ul><li>Scrapbook Circle </li></ul><ul><li>Creative Non-Fiction Writing Group </li></ul><ul><li>Tuesday Technology Talks and Databytes </li></ul><ul><li>Computer Classes (almost daily) </li></ul>
  19. 20. <ul><li>Ideas Abound </li></ul><ul><li>From West Deptford PL in NJ: </li></ul><ul><li>Faux Finishing with Lowes </li></ul><ul><li>Digital TV tech tips with Radio Shack </li></ul><ul><li>Country Line Dancing Nights </li></ul><ul><li>For more ideas see: </li></ul><ul><li>From Marylaine Block: </li></ul><ul><li>Garage Band night </li></ul><ul><li>Memoir-writing workshops </li></ul><ul><li>Read to your grandchildren Story Times </li></ul><ul><li>Family Game Night </li></ul><ul><li>For more ideas see: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  20. 21. Election Night at the Library Rubik’s Cube Competition Watch the World Cup on the Big Screen Synchronized Screening Wizard of Oz and Dark Side of the Moon
  21. 23. Picture Credits <ul><li>Slide 1: </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 2: </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 4: </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 5: </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 6: </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 7: </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 9: </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 16: </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 17: </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 20: </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 21: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>