Tweens are always a hard audience to reach at my library. They are so busy and the library often ends up being a quick stop for our tweens. We wanted to make sure we offered programs for our school age patrons and we thought the best way to reach them would be to offer programming at multiple times to try and accommodate their busy schedules.
After brainstorming with my staff, we decided we had two audiences we wanted to reach-school age patrons and our ever growing home school population. So we came up with the idea to offer two programs that would repeat each month. We offer one program on a Saturday morning and another on the fourth Friday afternoon of the month. So far we’ve done a Crafternoon, old fashioned game day, and a sewing program based around the book Extra Yarn). This gives patrons two opportunities to attend our programs and we’re reaching a different audience need with each program while targeting the tween school age population that we want to bring into the library.
We don’t advertise the weekday afternoon program for just home schoolers, but we know that’s a big part of our audience for those programs. And the public schools will often have an early dismissal on the afternoons of our programs, so we’re able to reach a wider audience.
So far it’s been a popular idea. Our patrons have appreciated having more options of times to attend a program and our home school patron base is excited that we are offering a program that they can attend with the whole family. We’re eager to keep this plan going in the Fall and continue to bring programming that offers something for our tweens.
Does your library offer a creative time slot to reach tweens or multiple programming opportunities to reach tweens? I’d love to know how other libraries are running programs for school age patrons!
Are you interested in reading more tween-related posts? The YALSA Blog and the ALSC Blog both offer information of interest to librarians who work with tweens.
One of the things I introduced at my library was a story time plus a craft program that runs at the same time as a school age program. My community has larger families and inevitably siblings were bored waiting around or parents would try and convince us to allow siblings into programs that were not for their age. Now parents drop their older kids off and head down to the storytime with their younger kids. Our attendance has gone up significantly and the older kids like being free from those pesky younger siblings.