Sample Programming Ideas:
Showcase the Vastness of Your Library's Resources

The ALA has five key action areas that drive its mission to promote the highest quality library services and access to information for all people. These key action areas are a perfect way to organize a series of activities.

Programming suggestions for each of these five key action areas are discussed below. Programs and displays around these key action areas can also serve as a backdrop to your event.

21st Century Literacy

Highlight your library's efforts to advance literacy in all forms, including "information literacy."
  • Families reading together @ your library
    Sponsor a family reading night. Create a place in the library dedicated to displaying tools for parents to encourage family reading and provide training to parents on encouraging reading in the home and reading aloud to young children.

  • Build a community of readers @ your library
    Invite organizations and individuals in your community to help promote literacy, such as college and school administrators, healthcare providers, literacy organizations, bookstores, after-school tutoring programs, YMCAs, Head Start and local businesses. Host an Open House and tour of your library. Let guests know the literacy resources available and brainstorm ways you can collaborate with them to foster community literacy.

  • Literacy is a way of life @ your library
    Offer adult literacy and/or family literacy classes as a way to remind people that the library is a lifetime resource. Provide tutoring sessions and information about local literacy organizations.

  • Your final answer @ your library
    Host a "library bowl" (akin to a college bowl) or a scavenger hunt where students divide into teams and have to find information by using all the resources of their library. The librarian serves as the expert/moderator of the event.

  • Whole wide world @ your library
    Take out ads in your school/campus/local paper about technology resources and programming at your library that can help your users get connected to the wide world of information. Promote Internet access and Internet classes, online catalogs, databases and other resources that can help users get connected.


Demonstrate that the library is open to all people and ideas and that its collections reflect many voices and cultures.

  • Many faces, many voices @ your library
    Display books, dress, food and music from around the world. Invite a local theater or dance troupe to perform. Host book readings, lectures and art exhibits that focus on different cultures and populations.

  • Picture this @ your library
    Create a photo display celebrating the history and diversity of your local library community. Include archive materials or work with your local historical society to showcase the development of your community.

  • Courage to learn @ your library
    Honor adult learners at your library. Highlight adult easy-reading books and instructional videos. Solicit samples of adult learners' writing and send to the local newspaper with a story pitch about local adult learners and your library's role in their learning.

  • Diversity in motion @ your library
    Show films that highlight different cultures.

Education and Continuous Learning

Communicate that the library is a place for self-help and lifelong learning.

  • Set your sites! @ your library
    Create lists of useful Web sites that can help foster continuous learning for different populations of library users. Examples include sites for job seekers, college-bound high school students, children, seniors, new parents, etc.

  • Find your fortune @ your library
    Host an investment seminar with a local business person and showcase books, videos, magazines, CDs and Web sites that help people learn about investment strategies.

  • Build a brighter future @ your library
    Hold a GED-prep seminar, offer special homework-help sessions to students and/or provide information on applying to college and obtaining scholarships.

  • Globe-trotting @ your library
    Bring in local travel experts to host a travel planning workshop and feature Web pages and other reference materials on how to find the best bargains, learn about foreign currency and plan a family vacation.

  • Writing review @ your library
    Invite a trainer to come into the library to present a business writing review course for your company's employees. Create a display of in-house resources, such as dictionaries, thesauruses, stylebooks or how-to writing books.

Equity of Access

Show that your library helps to bridge the digital divide.

  • Get connected @ your library
    Offer a computer and/or Internet "teach-in" for people of all ages, including how to log on, how to conduct a search, use online databases and navigate the Internet safely. Create bookmarks with "rules of the road" for online searching.

  • Something for everyone @ your library
    Showcase the variety of resources your library provides in alternative formats such as large print books, Braille, ESL classes, bilingual programming and materials for the hearing impaired. Offer to host multilingual computer classes. Highlight the accessibility of your library to the handicapped. Offer ADA-related information to supplement your efforts.

  • Within your reach @ your library
    Reach out to the economically disadvantaged in your community. Collaborate with Head Start programs, social service agencies and battered women's shelters to offer library cards and let people know of the free resources available at your library.

  • Get mobile @ your library
    If your library has a bookmobile or Cybermobile, highlight the unique services and resources it offers and, how through this vehicle, your library is making information and materials available to those who might not otherwise have access to the library.

Intellectual Freedom

Communicate that the library makes information available to everyone and provides a forum for expressing all points of view.

  • Freedom to read, hear, view, think @ your library
    Create a display of banned books, banned recordings or films, and authors whose works have been banned over the course of the last century.

  • The choice is yours @ your library
    Invite members of local groups or a local professor or teacher concerned with free expression and free access to ideas to speak on the history of censorship or modern-day censorship issues.

  • Debate! @ your library
    Host a series of student debates to take place at your library. Work with teachers and professors to select debate topics and work with students to prepare speeches.

  • All the ideas that are fit to print @ your library
    Create a central bulletin board in your library or on your Web site that can serve as a central forum for discussing censorship. Include updates on proposed state and federal censorship legislation and sample letters to government leaders about stopping censorship. Let users post ideas or accounts of personal experiences with censorship.
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This page contains sample programming ideas based on ALA's 5 key action areas.