A Cup of Creativi-tea: National Library Week

It is almost upon us again. National Library Week is April 15-21, and if there is a time when creativity is needed most, it’s our national week of celebration. I recently helped put together a list of NLW activities for a committee that I am on, and it certainly prompted me to put on my creative thinking cap. There are plenty of ideas to go around for all kinds of libraries in all kinds of organizations. Hopefully, you will find something here that is perfect for your own library.

Some folks like to have a central event to plan their week around. If you have the budget for it, an appreciation luncheon to say “thank you” to your patrons or an awards luncheon singling out specific patrons and/or staff for the previous year can be good choices for main events. A guest speaker can be a great addition to a luncheon or as a stand-alone event. Also very popular as an NLW event is the library open house.

If you are looking for smaller events to have throughout the week, consider some of these staples. Lunch-and-learn seminars, various guest speakers, tours of your library, showing appropriately-themed movies during the noon hour. With the exception of the movies (which would probably have to be set up as a come-and-go), these smaller events could easily be scheduled for 45 minutes or less, making them attractive options for your busy patrons.

For those with little to no budget, or those who just like to have lots of fun things to do during the week, there are plenty of ideas to go around. You can set up a display which would be a great opportunity to stretch those developing creative muscles. New books and resources, little used books and resources, or books and articles written by your library staff or members of your parent organization are all good display themes.

My personal favorite activity is the trivia contest. I have conducted contests based on library lore, movies, guess the person from their first job, and little-known facts about myself. There are plenty of other contest ideas out there, from photo contests to poetry contests to guess-the-number-of-beans-in-the-jar contests. Prizes are usually easy to come by. I always have a supply of freebies from conferences, and if I’m low, I call up my vendor reps and ask if they have any fun things that they can send me. I also keep an eye out for gift certificate offers from my regular publishers. I almost always have a few books that I need to purchase outside of my standing orders, so I try to save them for times when I get a gift certificate offer. They make great contest prizes.

And one final note on the subject of food. HAVE IT! Nothing brings people out like the promise of snacks. Have dessert week, free popcorn, an afternoon tea, breakfast with the bibliographer. Food ideas are always a welcome addition.

I hope your National Library Week is a fun and successful event. Just apply a little creative thinking, and it’s sure to be a memorable one.

More Resources

American Library Association – press releases, public service announcements, and official NLW logo graphics.

Private Law Libraries Public Relations Committee – more ideas for things to do from this American Association of Law Libraries special interest group.

DiscoverySchool’s Puzzlemaker – make your own crosswords, cryptograms, word search, and other word puzzles.

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