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SWON News: The Low Down

Timing Matters

Friday, November 14, 2014  
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
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Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and you’ll probably hear lots of turkey talk. Brine or baste? Bake or deep-fry? Turkey tips get play because they’re in demand now. Timely messages hold our attention. You can find timely information to share, too, and the more you tailor it to your local audience, the more valuable it’s likely to be.

Thanksgiving is also time for non-turkey-related pursuits. Some of your patrons will spend a lot of time watching football. Others will don all-weather gear and go Black-Friday shopping. What can you offer those audiences? A bit of football trivia? A few tips on deals to grab and deals to beware? Finding a new angle or digging for more information to share takes work, but the reward is that people notice.

The timeliness trap

The challenge for planners and programmers is that we can’t wait for an idea to become timely to start working on it. A program at your library on pie baking might be warmly welcomed, but two weeks before Thanksgiving is too late to start looking for a presenter if you want to tie it in to the holiday.

This is true for topics, as well as events. Is this the right time to put a maker space in your library? Is there demand for tools like 3D printers where you are? It can be hard to tell, especially when the topic is unfamiliar to you. And it’s easy to conflate our own interest (or disinterest) in a topic with patrons’.

What to do?

It’s tough to know where to start, especially with a new subject area. If you’ve never played Minecraft before, how much do you have to learn before hosting your first Minecraft event? Are your computers fast enough? How much tech-savvy does it take to set up?

Turn to people who have already done it. Turn to your community. You don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Join one of SWON’s Special Interest Groups and come to a meeting, or send a message to the group online. And share ideas you work on, even if it was an event whose moment is passed. Great ideas find ways to become timely again.

  • Nathan Swartzendruber, SWON Technology Educator

Ohio Library Day

Set during National Library Week next year, Ohio Library Day is an opportunity to show library/community partnerships. Led by the “Library Think Tank: Community Hub” committee from Library Leadership Ohio, they’re encouraging libraries of all types to plan programming for that day that demonstrate that libraries are community hubs and meeting spaces.

They’re already posting programming ideas for academic, public, school and special libraries. The more libraries get involved, the stronger the impact can be. We can make it a timely topic by working on it together. Start planning now for Ohio Library Day, April 14th, 2015.



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