Program Coordinator – Central Region Department of Conservation & Experiential Programming Forest Preserves of Cook County
Maintaining standing orders with book vendors is a low-maintenance method of replenishing popular and bestselling materials in library collections, but this same approach toward programming leaves much to be desired for the community. Cookie-cutter, “standing-order-programs” quickly grow stale, and in the long run, are detrimental to libraries’ community relationships. Risk averse, safe programming may be comforting but hardly exciting to your community. In an effort to rectify this problem, Westchester Public Library reimagined our approach to programming and centered our new philosophy on forging strong partnerships with other organizations within the community. From the perspectives of staff, management, and partner organizations, our panel will demonstrate how utilizing the expertise of partner organizations as a force multiplier has allowed us to develop unprecedented program offerings that would otherwise be cost prohibitive—e.g., hands-on, instructional kayaking adventures and expert-led nature safaris featuring high-end digital camera equipment. Attendees should not expect a text-laden PowerPoint presentation. Instead, they can look forward to an engaging multimedia presentation, which will include both video and a dynamic display of vibrant, impressive photos taken by children who participated in outdoor nature safaris. The panel will also share some of the kayaking gear and digital photography equipment used in these programs. Attendees will be challenged to reimagine their current programming philosophies and identify untapped potential within their own communities, which can be translated into truly innovative programs that can make qualitative changes in their communities.
Challenge decision-makers to discover untapped potential within their communities and library staffs, from which at least one program can be created.
Forge at least one new partnership (and strengthen at least one existing partnership) with a non-traditional outside organization
Onboard at least one new staff member to reimagine and revise programming philosophy in favor of more innovative approaches.