How to Use Technology to Make Your Library Programs Thrive
Your library is truly amazing. Not only do you provide access to an impressive collection of print and digital resources, but your extensive catalog of programming is likely expanding as well. In fact, Public Libraries Online reports that over the last five years, public libraries have increased their number of programs per capita by 27%!
You’re committed to offering your community quality programs, and you’re working hard to engage with your patrons. How can you ensure that your efforts are paying off? By using the right tools for the job at hand. Read on for more insight into tools and strategies that will help your library programs thrive.
Streamline Event Discovery
You’ve put in the effort to prepare an engaging library program that meets the needs of your diverse community members. Your next step is to make sure that your community members know that your program exists. From library mini golf to library bingo, libraries like yours are taking innovative approaches to making their programs accessible.
Themed open houses are another great way to engage with and share upcoming events with those who are able to stop by a physical library branch, but how can you expand your focus beyond that in-person audience? The answer lies in connecting to people through the technology they’re using every day.
Because 77% of Americans own smartphones, many libraries are augmenting their in-house event promotion with mobile apps that offer one-click access to their library’s assets. Offering patrons a mobile app provides them with anytime, anywhere access to your calendar of events, classes, computer lab schedules and more.
Make Event Participation Easy
Once your community members know which programs they would like to participate in, what steps do they need to follow to register? How easy is it for them to sign up for your library’s upcoming events? This is your next opportunity to knock your programming out of the park. If your events are hard to find or hard to register for, event attendance will suffer.
Fortunately, technology can help. Event management software makes it easy for patrons to register for your library’s events, add events to their personal calendars, and share event details with their networks via social media. An event management tool can also equip your staff with the data and reporting they need to identify trends in event attendance. This allows you and your staff to make informed decisions about where to focus your efforts and your funds when planning future programs.
Take Your Programs to the Next Level
Streamlining the administrative side of event management isn’t the only benefit technology can offer your library’s programming. Have you ever considered the role technology could play as a pillar of your programming strategy, rather than just a tool to support the programs you plan?
In the ever-evolving digital landscape, offering programs that meet patrons exactly where they are is increasingly important to driving your library’s mission forward. Offering online programming allows you to engage your community in a more flexible format than in-person events, giving patrons the opportunity to choose to engage with your library when and where it’s most convenient for them.
Online reading programs and challenges are a great example of this. Implementing an online solution allows both your summer and year-round reading programs to do the following:
- Reach a larger audience and grow your community of readers
- Support your outreach efforts by facilitating involvement for participants unable to be present in your physical space
- Use engaging challenges to broaden your program from a reading program to a learning program
With the right tools, you can raise awareness of your programs and make your resources more accessible. You can reach and impact those who need your library most and let their behavior and feedback inform your programming. This insight will offer a greater return on your investment and take your library’s engagement with its community to a new level.