"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

13 December 2016

Weeding: It's Not Just for Books

Ah, weeding. Some librarians love it; some librarians dread it. It's important for us to weed our print collections so that there is room on the shelf for new books and so those new books are easier to find. This is something we're taught, directly or indirectly, at library school, and most libraries have a weeding schedule that they may or may not choose to follow in order to keep their print collections looking up to date.

But what about programs?

Like books, programs can be very popular when they are started, and like books, they can become dated. It's important to weed your programs just as you weed your books.

For example, My library has had a tween book club for several years. Kids in grades 3-6 can pick up a copy of the book, then once a month we meet together to discuss the book and do a related craft. Sounds fun, right? And it is fun. At the outset there were 8-10 kids who regularly attended this program, and that size group made it so that everyone could contribute to the discussion and enjoy the craft without being overwhelmed by crowds.

Then the numbers dwindled, and kept dwindling until we had only two kids show up for two months, and then only one kid for three months after that. I could have chosen to keep the program going. I do love book club, and I love discussing books, but I had to think about my community and whether this was the best way to serve them. I also had to consider the amount of time I invested into the program. A book club took a lot of my time: time to read the book, plan a craft, find appropriate discussion questions. I don't mind investing this time, but to do so when only one child will show up seems like a poor use of resources.

In the end I have chosen to eliminate the tween book club, even though it's one of my favorite programs, and we're replacing it with a Pokemon club, which has already sparked interest among our school-aged patrons. The same age range of kids will likely come to the Pokemon club, but hopefully I'll be able to serve more than one or two patrons at this monthly event.

Adding new programs to your calendar is a great idea, but make sure to remove old ones that aren't well attended anymore. This not only will save your time at work but will also make sure your patrons have good options to choose from when deciding whether to attend a program.

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