What’s in a name? More specifically, what’s in a program name? Well, if you want people to show up — everything!
Since I’ve been working as a public librarian, I’ve discovered that what you name a program affects how many people will attend. It doesn’t matter if you’ve planned the best event in the world, if the name is a stinker, so too, will be your event.
I remember two of my earlier attempts at Black History Month programming — the first, a reader’s theater program focusing on the venerable Thurgood Marshall and the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education case. * I should have called it anything but Reader’s Theater. It was through sheer Herculean effort that I attracted enough people to play all of the parts. It’s a superb play, but I didn’t market it properly. Another year, I planned a Black History Month book discussion on the fabulous book, Elijah of Buxton (Scholastic 2007). Yes, the book is outstanding! My program, titled simply, Elijah of Buxton Book Discussion, was a flop. (My belated apologies to Christopher Paul Curtis for my poor marketing)
So what am I doing this year? A storytime for older children based on the book, George Crum and the Saratoga Chip(Lee & Low 2006). What’s my program called? Betcha Can’t Eat Just One! The true story of George Crum, inventor of potato chips. And yes, we’re having a potato chip tasting! So far, the sign-ups look promising. I’ll let you know how it turns out!
In the meantime, share your best (or worst!) program names, and don’t forget to share your own Black History Month programming ideas.
*If you’re interested in obtaining permission to perform, “Now Let Me Fly,” contact the playwright, Marcia Cebulska at Now Let Me Fly.