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LM_NET  May 2018

LM_NET May 2018

Subject:

What is a library program, anyway?

From:

Sarah Ostman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Sarah Ostman <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 9 May 2018 20:37:42 +0000

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text/plain

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text/plain (48 lines)

(The following is an update about ALA's National Impact of Library Public Programs Assessment)


As we began our research into library programming skills, we realized that programs are a lot like art. That is, we knew it when we saw it - but we had a hard time articulating a definition that everybody agreed on.

We started with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which defines a program this way:

"A program is any planned event which introduces the group attending to any of the broad range of library services or activities or which directly provides information to participants. Programs may cover use of the library, library services, or library tours. Programs may also provide cultural, recreational, or educational information, often designed to meet a specific social need."

But we found this definition simultaneously too narrow and too broad.

The focus on programs as an introduction to other library services - rather than a service in themselves - seemed overly constricting. We are all familiar with library programs that don't necessarily introduce people to library services or provide information to them. Think about some of the examples we provided in March: Does all-ages coloring fit this definition? What about adult slumber parties?

And yet too broad - a required class on library services for new freshmen fits the IMLS definition, but it feels intuitively like it's beyond the scope of our project. Why?

Continue reading and comment online at http://nilppa.org/phase-1/what-is-a-public-program-anyway/.

You can also share feedback by email: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

The National Impact of Library Public Programs Assessment (NILPPA) is a two-year research project of the American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with New Knowledge Organization Ltd., a social science think tank. NILPPA: Phase 1 is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Learn more at http://nilppa.org/.

_______________
Sarah Ostman
Communications Manager
Public Programs Office
American Library Association
312-280-5061




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