On April 28, 2014 Marge Loch-Wouters and I created an informal survey to see what the pulse of school age programming is in libraries right now.
We asked questions such as:
- How many librarians run school age programs?
- How many are full-time / part-time?
- How many unique programs do you plan each year?
- How many are active / passive?
- What’s your yearly budget?
- Do you provide outreach for the school age?
- When / how often do you run programs?
- Where do you find ideas for programs?
This was our first survey, so be kind. We forgot to ask the yearly attendance at programs. Maybe next time! (After all, we’re not known for being strong math people in this profession, right?!) Our objective is really just to see what’s going on in the school age arena in libraries. Also, results from librarians around the country helps us make decisions in our own departments and communities. It can also help spark new life into a program if you need some ammo for your director for more funding or leeway in trying something new!
Here’s what we learned this time around…
There were a total of 171 responses:
The average number of total librarians who run school age programs is 2.11.
Of the total of 171, there are an average of 2.04 full-time librarians.
Of the total of 171, there are an average of 1.81 part-time librarians.
The good news is that it seems most libraries have at least one person in charge of running school age programs! It also seems that there are more full-time librarians who handle this age range than part-time. I was excited to see this number so high. A lot of libraries in my area stop providing programs once the children get into school. Though most offer summer reading programs, they don’t offer programs during the school year.
A dedicated staff person to the school age is important to offering good quality programming! I would also be curious to know how many run preschool storytimes, and then continue with school age programming. That would be important to think about when building successful programs. I wonder how it affects program attendance when the children know you from birth. Are they more comfortable with you and more apt to come to your school age programs? Or, do they think of you as a “baby teacher”?
Our spontaneous survey sparks more questions than we originally anticipated! Most importantly, it’s nice to see from the results that we are not alone.
Stay tuned here and over at Tiny Tips for Library Fun for more results about the survey soon!