Creative Programming
Where to Look
Idea Resources

Here's some ideas to freshen up your programming.


  • Afternoon Tea
  • Chef's Night Out
  • Chocolate Social
  • Coffee & Current Events
  • Foods of Fall
  • Sushi Class
  • Tea Seminar


  • Laughs at the Library
  • The Liar Show
  • Library Jazz Lounge


  • Introduction to Bridge
  • Mah Jongg and Bridge@ Lunch
  • Wii Will Rock You!
  • Texas Hold 'em at the Library


  • Beauty Secrets for a Younger Looking Face
  • Becoming Vegan/Vegetarian
  • Chiropractic Care & Ergonomics Series
  • Chair Yoga
  • Natural Body Care
  • Power Foods: Foods Which Pack a Powerful Punch
  • Quest for Rest
  • Foot Screening
  • Grocery Shop & Food Label Reading Event
  • Hypnosis
  • Tai Chi for Arthritis
  • Reflexology


  • ATV Safety Workshop
  • Avoiding Home Improvement Rip-Offs
  • Beauty Secrets for a Younger Looking Face
  • Bike Tune Up Clinic
  • Bookkeeping for Small Business
  • Fancy Feet Pedicure
  • First-time Homebuyer Workshop
  • Gadgets Galore
  • Getting the Most Out of Google
  • How to Buy Computer Equipment
  • How to Make Your Car Look Brand New
  • Last Minute Vacation Deals
  • Learn Origami
  • Learn to Salsa
  • Library Street Teams
  • Plan a Trip to NYC
  • Price It!@ the Library
  • Sell Your Home in a Challenging Market
  • Socrates Salon Discussion Group
  • Social Networking on the Internet
  • Texas Hold 'em at the Library
  • Warrior Weekends - Do-it-yourself home improvement programs at the library.


  • How to Find Your Soulmate Online
  • Library Speed Dating
  • Speed Networking
  • Divorce 101



  • Cell Phone Buddies
  • Chair Yoga
  • Elderlaw
  • Free Haircuts for Seniors
  • Digital Camera Class for Seniors
  • Honoring Veterans
  • Introduction to Bridge
  • I-pod Buddies
  • Mah Jongg and Bridge@ Lunch
  • Memoir Writing Workshop
  • Photo Editing Class for Seniors
  • Senior Karaoke
  • Tai Chi for Arthritis

Sports & Recreation

  • Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio?


  • Armchair Travelers
  • Last Minute Vacation Deals
  • Plan a Trip to NYC

Where to Look

In order to successfully target a group of people who don't typically use your library, think creatively about some new ways to entice them. An openness to trying new things is important since the usual library programs haven't interested them.

So, where do you find these new ideas?

1. On the Inside: In Your Library

  • Patrons. Build upon topics patrons are asking about or looking for. Consider popular reference questions or items that are highly circulated. Also, invite patrons to submit program/event ideas.
  • Board members. can be enlisted for areas of expertise or interest. They may have an area of special expertise or may have connections who can bring something new to your library.
  • Board meeting brainstorms. Consider discussing ideas at a board meeting to see what possibilities surface.

2. Out & About: In the Community & Beyond

  • Talk to people. Have conversations with a variety of people when you are out of the library (restaurants, post office, the gym etc.). Ask them what they find interesting and consider how the library might appeal to some of the original themes you hear. Consider using some connection cards like these to reach new people in your community.
  • Look at local business. Think about how their services might be used to offer a program or event.
  • Think Food. Make contacts with local restaurants and develop events where people can eat.
  • Glance at the news (online or newspaper). Create programs based on popular trends or coordinate with an activity/event already being offered somewhere else.
  • Check out popular books. Create a program based on these topics.
  • Flip through magazines. Check out magazines you don't usually read. Look for new ideas in the articles and ads. (Hint: Start by looking at magazines your target group reads.)
  • Look at social networking sites. See what topics people are excited about. Try or check out this list of social networking sites.
  • Look at the online event calendars. Newspapers, radio stations, and active organizations are great places to start.
  • Recruit presenters. Try local community colleges, small business owners etc.
  • Look to other libraries. Visit their websites and see what they're up to. Large, city libraries sites are often good for ideas since they usually have a full-time programmer.

Idea Resources:

More Resources:

  • Give out some gifts!

What's the most interesting program you've heard of lately? Don't keep it a secret, share it with us.

This toolkit was created on behalf of the 2007-2008 Building Your Base (BYB) project. BYB is funded by Federal Library Services and Technology Act funds,
awarded to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.


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