We all like to offer programs to bring patrons into our libraries, but some programs can require a lot of time to plan and execute, and it can be disheartening if people don’t show up. Some libraries simply don’t have the space to have groups of people gather in the library for a program. The following list provides ideas that can be used to attract people to the library without requiring you to invest a lot of time in planning or execution, and they don’t require everyone to be in the building at the same time.
Library Photo Booth
• Set up a backdrop with some props (storybook characters, perhaps?).
• Have people take pictures with their camera phones and tag the library when they upload to Facebook.
• Tailor adventures to your library.
• Make the list available to patrons.
• Make a list of various categories of books.
• Hand it out for patrons to hunt down their next book.
• Select books for the first round of the bracket.
• Have patrons fill out brackets and vote.
Mock Caldecott Award
• Scale back the award criteria to be kid-friendly.
• Have patrons rate the nominees.
Library Seek and Find
• Make a sign telling patrons what to look for.
• Introduce patrons to various library collections by hiding the item on the sign in those collections.
Optional: Ask questions about the collections.
Guess the Book in a Jar
• Shred a worn out book that is slated for withdrawal and stuff it in a jar.
• Have patrons guess what book it is.
Guess the Character
• Make silhouettes of characters from popular picture books.
• Have patrons identify the characters and books.
Library-themed Mad Lib
• Have patrons fill out the Mad Lib.
• Post in the library.
Have you tried any of these ideas in your library? How did it go? What other low-maintenance programs have you offered at your library? Share your ideas in the comments!