For immediate release | March 15, 2011

Conference sessions introduce exciting new ideas for library programming

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office will present a diverse offering of programs at the 2011 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, open to all attendees who are interested in learning how to make their library a community center for lifelong learning and civic engagement through arts and humanities programs.

These events will include discussions on marketing and promotion, audience development, community partnerships and a variety of programming formats that can be applied to all types and sizes of libraries. Speakers will introduce topics with exciting possibilities for public programming in libraries, including visual art, poetry, discussions of literature and films, literacy outreach and demonstrations of science and technology.

The six programs offered by the ALA Public Programs Office at the ALA Annual Conference are:

  • Building Common Ground: Discussions of Community, Civility and Compassion in the Public Library Saturday, June 25, 8 – 10 a.m.

    The ALA Public Programs Office and the Fetzer Institute share information regarding a new programming grant for public libraries.
  • ABC's of Sustainable Partnerships: Affiliations Build Communities Saturday, June 25, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

    Across the nation, libraries and humanities councils have partnered to fund public programming in libraries and schools. A variety of successful outreach models, including the award-winning PRIME TIME Family Reading Time program, will be showcased. Representatives from several states including Louisiana, Georgia and Michigan, the ALA Public Programs Office and the National Endowment for the Humanities will share impressive results of collaborative efforts, including bilingual and multicultural programming. A recently released study titled “Stemming the Tide of Intergenerational Illiteracy: A Ten-Year Impact Study of PRIME TIME Family Reading Time” will be presented.
  • Maximizing the Impact of Programming Sunday, June 26, 10:30 a.m. – noon

    In this time of declining budgets and increased user demand, libraries need to focus more than ever on return on investment for their program dollars. You’ll hear from a small resort library in rural Colorado that has created wide ranging partnerships with organizations local to international to deliver drop-your-jaw programming for a sophisticated audience. Award winning Multnomah County will share their detailed methods for prolonging the life and audience of popular programs through podcasting, including real world advice on staff allocation, securing author permissions, sourcing equipment and services and intellectual property issues. Finally, you’ll meet a film producer from a NEH affiliate who will reveal the secrets of working with film producers to license programs for your library.
  • NEH’s Picturing America: Model Programs for Public Libraries Sunday, June 26, 10:30 a.m. – noon

    Since Picturing America was launched by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in 2007, 3,600 public libraries have been awarded this collection of American artwork. Public librarians who have the Picturing America artwork in their collections are invited to attend this session to learn more about developing related programs for public audiences. Model program formats presented will include book and media discussion programs, local history presentations, lecture series, poetry programming and more.
  • Science Programming 101: Presenting Excellent Science Programs in Your Library Sunday, June 26, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

    Learn how to create exciting hands-on science programs for children and young adults from representatives of the National Center for Interactive Learning/Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo. and the Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, Texas. The program will also discuss two science exhibits for rural public libraries, Discover Earth and Discover Tech, and introduce a new science “Community of Practice” librarians can use.
  • The Language of Conservation: A Case Study in Library-Zoo Partnerships Monday, June 27, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

    In 2008, Poets House initiated a groundbreaking collaboration, creating poetry installations in zoos and related programming at libraries in five cities. The poems from around the world have encouraged millions of visitors to imagine a sustainable future for all cultures and wildlife on Earth. Join award-winning poet Mark Doty and representatives from Poets House, the New Orleans Public Library and the Audubon Zoo as they share information regarding this unique collaboration, as well as how you can use poetry to create vibrant partnerships that engage the public in a dialogue around culturally significant issues.

For more information, including full descriptions and speaker lists for the above programs, visit the ALA Public Programs Office website. For more program planning tips and ideas, visit, or sign up for the monthly Programming Librarian e-newsletter.

The ALA Public Programs Office promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries. Successful library programming initiatives have included the Let’s Talk About It reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, LIVE! @ your library and more. Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed, an online resource center bringing librarians timely and valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. For more information on the ALA Public Programs Office, visit


Angela Thullen