Sunday, January 7, 2018

2017 Library Data and Reflections: Programming and Outreach

The statistics octopus. She grasps all numbers in her tentacles.
So, this year. Sigh. It was a very busy summer, but the numbers didn't necessarily reflect that. It was just weird overall. It felt like we had lower attendance at a lot of things, but overall our attendance was about equal to 2016. I did start a lot of new stuff, but I'm planning on getting it all under control and changing some things next year, now that my staffing situation is, I hope, more or less sorted out.

  • 348 children’s programs; 11,531 participants
  • 19 teen programs; 508 participants
Storytimes and Early Literacy Programs for ages 0-5
  • 165 programs; average 30 attendees; 4,942 total participants
  • 7 special events for ages 0-5; 836 attendees
Family and School-Age Programs
  • 22 bookclub meetings, average 9 members, 207 total
  • 19 Lego Club meetings, average 26 attendees, 485 total
  • 10 Mad Scientists Club meetings; average 33 attendees; 327 total
  • 12 Messy Art Club meetings; average 32 attendees; 387 total
  • 8 Maker Workshops; average 11 attendees; 91 total
  • 6 special events for families; 650 attendees
Outreach (an estimate, not including numerous school visits, author visit, and participation in school outreach events, which is included in total programming)
  • 76 programs; 1963 total participants
Stealth and Drop-In Programming
  • A total of 671 children and teens participated in SRP
  • We offered 92 stealth activities and drop-in programs, with a total participation of approximately 1865
Pop-Up Maker Space
  • 52 teens participated in our pop-up maker space activities
While our overall programs and attendance were about equal to last year, and the attendance mostly averaged out, there were some changes. After school clubs overall dropped a little; the attendance was very uneven but mostly lower. Fewer outreach visits, kids involved in more activities after school, and inconsistent marketing hit us pretty hard there.

I increased several smaller programs, working with our English-language learning families through the school and starting several initiatives; the Library on the Go in the summer and extending our pop-up teen maker space. I also started the basics of a school-age pop-up maker space at the very end of the year.

I took off from outreach for the fall, in order to have the time to deal with major staff changes and planning life-size Candyland; this affected both our circulation and our overall program attendance, in my opinion.

Our summer reading registration decreased, but it's not as straight-forward as just counting the numbers, since I've changed how we count registration and participation.

Plans for next year
  • I'm booking outreach visits January - March and already have a slew of visits planned. In April and May I'll change over to field trips only, although I'll probably make exceptions for the school and daycare that are located outside of town. I have about 5-10 visits a week booked right now.
  • I'm also getting more involved in outreach events at the schools; I'm participating in their first Maker Faire and a 4K family night in January and also have some additional collaborations with the EL staff planned.
  • I'm also continuing to spend more time on remote collections, supporting the school curriculum and increasing our circulation
  • I plan to make some tweaks to the summer reading program; a lot of families prefer to just do 1,000 books before kindergarten instead of signing up for an additional program for the younger kids. I also hope to expand Library on the Go in the summer, then offer both field trips and outreach visits September - November.
As I expand outreach and related tasks, I'm going to need to cut back and change the way I offer programming. I'm increasing "event" programming, specially on Saturdays, and focusing more on smaller events during the week. Meanwhile, I'm handing more of the everyday programs over to my staff and colleagues.
  • My school colleague will be continuing to offer toddler storytime, an evening storytime, baby storytime, playgroup, and collaborate on special programs.
  • I've handed most of the Winter Wigglers events over to her and my associate. My associate will also be focusing on garden/outdoor programming in the summer.
  • I will be continuing our after school club programs through April then going on hiatus until next September. I'll probably have a few more drop-in craft and lego programs, but in the summer I'll be focusing on maker workshops, Library on the Go, introducing more Friday/Saturday programs. I'll also have my book clubs during the school year.
  • I'm offering a few more maker workshops during the year and trying to do roughly one Saturday event per month. This means I often work two Saturdays a month, although my director does try not to schedule me on Saturday rotation if she can, but with our staffing it just works out that way.
I've handed most of the marketing over to my associate; I send out newsletters and flyers to the schools and create handouts on outreach visits. My associate is also taking over a lot of the stealth programming and activities in-house, as well as displays.

With a new teen intern, we're jumping into teen programs full-tilt, building on the good start my temporary associate made last semester. The plan is to offer 3 programs a month, Middle School Madness, Anime Club, and Teens Game On! They're all going to be casual and, hopefully, require minimal planning and work. They'll have to since my intern only has 8 hours a week and I don't have time!

To pack all of this in, I have to make sure I'm taking reasonable breaks. I will only be doing minimal outreach visits in April and May; most classes will be visiting me. The only programs I will be doing myself in May will be my three book clubs. I won't be doing any programs in August; my associate will probably do some gardening/outdoor things and I'll have drop-in Craft-o-rama and Free Lego Build, which anyone can set up. In December I don't do any outreach and just have the three book clubs and Life-Size Candyland. We did very well with our big holiday programs in November so I'll probably continue that. Overall, I'm moving towards more drop-in, casual programming.

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