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  1. THINKING INSIDE THE BOX: Portable Programs for Public Libraries Lindsay Schluter, Youth Services Librarian Sophie Walker, Teen Services Librarian Winnipeg Public Library

  2. WPL’s Portable Programming • Family Literacy Fun Day Kits (FLFD) • Teen Programs in a Box (TPIB)

  3. Outline • What are “portable programs?” • Overview of FLFD • Results of the program at WPL • Customizing the concept: • Funding • Station Planning • Training • Promotion • Impact on the community

  4. What are Portable Programs? • Ideas and instructions for programs are planned centrally • Supplies purchased in advance and packed in durable plastic totes • Staff book programs with central coordinators and receive program kit via library’s delivery system

  5. Benefits • Minimize costs • Supplies can be ordered in bulk • Materials are re-used • Maximize staff time • Program created once, and used over and over again

  6. Family Literacy Fun Day at Winnipeg Public Library

  7. What is Family Literacy? Family literacy refers to the many different ways that families can work and play together while developing reading and writing skills. It is a way of improving literacy while having fun as a family.

  8. Family Literacy Fun Day

  9. By the Numbers…. 19 Family Literacy Fun Days! 1048 Participants! • Average number of participants per branch: 41 • High End: 225 participants at Louis Riel Library • Low End: 19 participants at St. Vital Library

  10. Response From the Public We had a wonderful time! This was our first time coming to the library! When is the next one? A great time for family bonding! We Loved it! All the activities had elements of fun and learning!

  11. Response from Staff I think it is a great idea and look forward to hosting another one. We realize now that the program can be a success via drop in. There is always the uncertainty of numbers when there is no registration. This is a great program and I can see it becoming more popular after every event as people become more familiar with it. I would love to see more ‘portable programs’ such as this.

  12. It’s 100% Portable! This is a program that is designed to maximize the re-usability of program materials, and minimize the staff time spent planning and preparing! Family Literacy Fun Day Kit port-a-ble : moveable, convenient, handy, compact, wieldy

  13. Funding • Community Foundations • Toronto Community Foundation • Government Organizations • Ontario Trillium Foundation • Canada Post • Non-Profit Organizations • ABC Life Literacy Canada • Kiwanis Clubs • Rotary Clubs • United Way of Canada • Raise-a-Reader • Businesses • Indigo Books, Music & More

  14. Station Planning • Public Libraries Winnipeg Public Library London Public Library Toronto Public Library • Non-Profit Organizations North West Territories Literacy Council National Adult Literacy Database ABC Life Literacy Canada • Early Childhood Education Suppliers Wintergreen Scholar’s Choice Invest in quality totes!

  15. Training • Family Literacy Fundamentals • What is Family Literacy? • Why is it important to foster Family Literacy skills? • Logistics of Family Literacy Fun Day • Scheduling • Staffing • Set-up • Advertising Train all staff on safety procedures!

  16. Promotion How Did You Hear About Family Literacy Fun Day?

  17. Portable Programs Rock! The possibilities are endless!

  18. Teen Programs in a Box!

  19. TPIB Project: History • Based on SDCL TPIB project, 2007 • Simple concept: everything in the box! • Consumable supplies • Tools • Instructions • Recommended books for display • Booked by branches • Sent via delivery or courier to location

  20. Kit Example: Bookmaking

  21. Our Project • Started in 2008 • Team of 4 librarians, 2 “research assistants” • Passionate about teen programming, or at least giving teens something to do • Knew it would be a challenge to get everyone on board • Needed funding; no wiggle room in children’s and adult programming budgets

  22. Grant Application • Funded by Jack Montgomery Community Outreach Grant, offered by Library Board • Failed on first application, needed to rewrite and resubmit before funding was awarded • Liked the level of detail and research that went into our proposal: • Detailed budget with itemized lists of supplies and with estimated costs • Statistics

  23. Statistics Teen usage of libraries at WPL:

  24. Customizing TPIB to WPL Our project: • Funded by grant • $5000 Budget: • $3000 for kit contents • $1500 for promotional materials • $300 for packing/shipping • $200 for resupply • 1-year timeline

  25. So many kit ideas… …so what do you choose? • Customizing the TPIB Concept for WPL: • Looked at examples of other libraries • Looked at old wish list of programs • Looked at our skill sets, built list of “doable” programs

  26. Customizing TPIB for WPL “And why is this a LIBRARY program?” • Fun for fun’s sake is not quite enough • Must be related to our library’s collection and overall mission • Repeat the mantra: the purpose of the program is the collection • Helps in persuading administration, staff

  27. Source: Library Journal, 10/1/2009, Vol. 134 Issue 16, p. 27 Value Proposition

  28. Teen Programming Value Proposition

  29. Our Value Proposition • Criteria: • Popularity with teen audience • Ease of repetition/cost of re-supply • Staff effort needed to run programs • Lack of similar programming in catchment area • Tie-in to Library collections • Tie-in to Library’s overall mission

  30. Assembling the kits • Purchasing and assembling wasn’t easy • Strategies: • Pilot programs to ascertain volume • Budget may need revision • New supplies that need to be added • Good suppliers, maximize trips • Local wholesalers • Retail stores (Michaels, Walmart, Home Depot) • Dollar stores (Dollarama)

  31. Dungeons & Dragons CD Clocks Bags & Bows Wandmaking workshop Collage Art workshop Jewelry-making Zombie Makeup WPL’s TPIB Kits • Wii Gaming (2 kits) • Duct Tape crafts • Mini dolls/Fabric crafts • Sock Puppets • Bookmaking, card-making & scrapbooking • Board Games

  32. Contents • Guide • Patterns, instructions & samples • List of books for booktalking and display • Posters, Display Boards and Handouts

  33. Staff Buy-in and Participation • Staff buy-in has been positive • Wanted to see 100% increase in teen programming across system from 2009 to 2010 • Offerings increased from 10 programs at 5 locations to 27 programs at 14 locations over the same time period • Staff have been eager to book kits, even asking months in advance • Part-time staff are getting involved

  34. Troubleshooting Promotion • Difficult to combat the “If You Host It, They Will Come” mentality among staff • Word-of-mouth marketing remains the most essential tool for branch programs • Staff need to be engaged in program or it can fail • Display posters, samples at talking points • Circ counters, ref desks—wherever staff regularly engage teens • Try, try again

  35. Marketing • $1500 of TPIB budget was set aside for promotional materials • Half spent on Teen Summer Reading promotions, remainder used to create lasting posters for schools and libraries • Advertised events on WPL teen Facebook page, YouTube

  36. Sharing? • Teen kits don’t have to be just for teens • Tools can be re-purposed for adult programming, tween events • Outreach programs in schools, remote locations • Teachers, community groups interested? • Share the wealth (of knowledge, at least) • Make guides, instructions available

  37. Conclusion: Why In A Box? • Programming is hard, time consuming • Addresses challenges that staff face: • need for specialized training • time to design, assemble and promote the program • cost of the materials • Box programs provide branch staff with everything they need to provide self-directed, high-interest programs

  38. Benefits • Minimization of costs • Supplies can be ordered in bulk • Expensive items not duplicated • Maximization of staff time • Initial creation takes time • Cost associated with time decreases with each repetition of same program • Ease of use

  39. Thanks for Listening!! Lindsay Schluter Sophie Walker