Programming is a big part of public library services. Books, periodicals, and computers are critical to a library, but programming is what encourages the customers to actually spend time in the building, getting to know other patrons as well as staff members. Some libraries are spot on when it comes to programming. I had an interview last week at a beautiful library in Virginia that offered a gaming night specifically for children with autism, which coincidentally coincided with an informal meeting of parents of children with autism. The library staff noticed a trend (library patrons with autism) and did something about it. This is how we should be planning programs!

The following is a recently-released publication that shows us exactly what our patrons are checking out:

(Thanks to the blog Agnostic, Maybe)

Cooking, health, politics, business, travel, self-help…those are the most checked-out topics from public libraries. (I do not know where these stats came from. But even if they are incorrect, go with me here…) So we should be planning accordingly!

Dive deep into your circulation software and analyze your recent check-outs to determine what is being checked out. Or ask your reference librarians what topics they are usually researching on behalf of customers. Plan programs accordingly. We need to plan programs for our customers, not for ourselves. We need to get out of our way. THAT is how we will stay relevant.

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