Confession: I have a graveyard of programs that did not work at my library. I am an enthusiastic programmer, and with no quantitative data on what teen programs worked at my library in the decade before I arrived, I have enjoyed free rein in attempting a vast variety of programs. Unfortunately, any great number of these programs have fallen flat, especially technology-related teen programs.
So with all apologies to Teen Tech Week, I'm declaring that technology-related programming does not work at my library.
Okay, maybe that's a bit bold of a statement. Technology-related programming has not yet worked at my library is more accurate. To date we have attempted the following programs for teens:
- how to sign up for and use different social media sites
- cool customizations for social media sites
- photo editing software and online tools
- sharing photographs online
- online research and citations
- beginner, intermediate, and advanced use of Microsoft Office suite
- safe web surfing
- a social photography club (with cameras provided)
- a video-creation studio (with cameras and software provided)
Based on patron feedback, these are the technology-related programs that the community wants and needs from the library. Every week I get asked by teen patrons how to use Microsoft Office, how to edit photographs, and all the other program topics too! Before adding the technology-related programs to the schedule, I polled patrons for what they would like to do with technology at the library. However, when it came to signing up for a program, or simply showing up at a program without preregistering, we saw zilch attendance.
Based on attendance at comparable programs, we know that the marketing strategy for these programs should be working. We advertise on three local radio stations; on the daily announcements at the high school and junior high; on posters throughout town; in the newspaper; on Facebook; in seasonal brochures; and, most importantly, through word of mouth.
At the end of the day, it is not an efficient use of library resources to continue attempting technology-related teen programming at my library. No matter how amazing the Teen Tech Week resources seem, because the community has not demonstrated that it wants technology-related programming, I will not be adding Teen Tech Week to our program calendar in 2012. With a slew of other programs that have proven successful, I feel that I am being a good steward of library resources by passing on technology-related programs.
Is there a program that bucks trends and doesn't work at your library?
Tell us about it in the comments.