According to the rules at my library, I did nothing today. Two months ago, I submitted the topic for today's program to the marketing department who added it to the schedule of classes we post on our calendars. One month ago, I created the sign up sheet for the program and posted it in the book at the desk for patrons to enter their information and register for the class. This morning I set up the room, copied the handouts and got the sign-up sheet to check in the patrons who had registered.
One person showed.
According to the definition of a "program," I did not have one today. Because the rules say, "training delivered one-on-one and not to a group is not to be counted as a library program."
So, does programming delivered to one person count as a program?
I could argue that as intended the training was for a group, but that's not what the defintion says. So I have two options: submit my sheet with my one student and have the program counted as something else that is not a program, or lie. So I marked that two people showed. And two, by my definitiion, is a group. And by the library's definition, a group means a program.
Most people think wrongly that libraries are here for books, when libraries are really here for statistics. We continually measure what we do, how long we take to do it, how much it costs and how many people benefit from whatever is done.
Well, at my library, we value library programs. We offer as many as we can. We schedule rooms for them, arange speakers. set up chairs, turn on projectors, adjust the A/C. We count the ones we present, the people who show and the ones we turn away because they came too damn late.
So what I need to know is, what is a program? Does it matter how many people show, or how big the venue is, or who the presenter is, or whether there was cake?
These are my options for what could be a program compared to what is not. From the choices below, which would you call programs?
All of these are computer instruction and/or adult informational transactions. But I guess you could modify them to use with story times. But if you're offering free story times at your library, but the parents/daycares aren't bringing the kids, then you probably have bigger problems than we can solve here.
- making an appointment for the next day for 30 minutes to show a patron how to download an ebook
- making an appointment for the next day for 30 minutes to show a patron how to download an ebook and she shows up with her spouse who also wants to learn
- scheduling a computer program in the computer lab, but only one person shows up
- making an appointment for the next day for 30 minutes to show a man how to download an ebook and he shows up 3 other people who also want to learn so you move the group into the meeting room or computer lab
- offering computer catalog instruction the same time each morning: someone attends
- offering computer catalog instruction the same time each morning: no one attends
- offering computer catalog instruction the same time each morning, but someone shows up later and wants it then
- inviting several people to a table to let them see the library's new iPad
- advertising to invite people to let them see the library's new iPad