Build Bridges with Programs
Before the Program
At the Program

Strategies for making meaningful connections and getting the most out of your programming efforts.

Before the Program: General Promotion Strategies
These guidelines are most applicable to programs you are hosting.

  • Create an email list to promote your programs. Remember to keep adding people to the list.
  • Hang promotional posters in strategic places. (For example, if your program is on nutrition, put a poster about the upcoming program near the nutrition books.)
  • Make a suggestion to "Bring a friend" who may be interested. This works well because now two people have committed. Also, sometimes people find it easier to attend an event when they are coming with someone.
    • Add the "Tell a Friend" option to online program announcements where patrons can submit their friends email address and conveniently forward the information.
  • Give a reminder. Send an email or make follow-up phone calls two days before the program.
  • Collect a registration fee. (This may only be applicable for certain programs, such as trips or events involving food, and could be refundable for those who attend.)
  • Hand out tickets. Even if they're free, they show a commitment and make it clear that you are holding a space for them.
  • Send out personalized mailings to patrons or groups who would be interested.
    For example, if you are hosting a mystery author, call or send out a notes like this, "Ms. Doe, I know that you love mysteries, so I thought that you'd want to know of an exciting event... " Having an Italian/American comedy speaker? Send flyers to the Italian center. Hosting a UFO speaker? Send flyers to sci fi clubs and science clubs.
  • Host programs that make patrons feel welcome and lure non-users into the library.
    The Westhampton Free Library hosted "Hot Chocolate Day" where they set up crock-pots and served different kinds of hot chocolate (in 4 oz. hot cups) along with the recipes.

Have more ideas? Please share them with us!

At the Program: Making Connections with Attendees
These guidelines are appropriate for both programs your library is hosting and/or linking with groups using your community room.

  • Interact with people attending the program/event/meeting (welcome them to the library, ask who is a new user and offer them a tour & a library card.)
  • Give out "goody bags" (plastic bags w/library logo on them) when patrons sign up for library cards. The bags might have library brochures, a magnet, pencil w/library name and phone number etc.
  • Do a related book/materials display.
  • Give new patrons an introduction to the library.
  • Provide routine users with a quick update on "What's New" or "Coming Soon" in your library.
  • Place newsletter and calendar of events on the seats of each attendee.
  • Conduct a survey after each program. (Keep in mind that surveys don't always have to be in paper format, informational interviews with selected participants can be very enlightening.)
Have more ideas? Please share them 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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