Program Planning

Today we have a guest post from Lisa AF Barefield talking about program planning

Planning programs is an essential part of being a teen librarian and one of the things I love most about my job. The actual scheduling of the programs requires its own amount of planning though. In my library we put together our program schedule almost six months in advance (it’s January and I’m working on my June, July, and August programs). So right now I’m running my winter programs, working on my spring programs, which have already been scheduled (although this usually means ignoring them until my big winter ones are done) and getting summer programs on the calendar. Generally this works out just fine; I have some regular programs, some outside speakers/teachers, and then try a few new things each session. My hang up though, is when I want to try something new and bigger and then I hesitate and because I hesitate it takes way longer than it should to put it into place. I hesitate because I don’t want to commit to something new and big before I have a better idea of what I want, but then I run out of time to flesh out the idea before programs need to be submitted for our newsletter and it gets pushed out for at least another three months. This usually goes on until I bite the bullet, put it in the newsletter and plan it when I’m working on the rest of that sessions programs.

I’m trying to get better about this. I read the book Listful Thinking by Paula Rizzo, which I quite honestly found to be a little cringey and trying too hard with motivational type interjections (including conversation tips for talking to someone in an elevator – I have no desire to strike up a conversation with a stranger in an elevator), but it did get me to start making lists before I finished the book so it might not be a bad read (or maybe just check out her blog instead). I love the idea of planners and lists (both paper and apps); my problem is with the follow through. I start off all excited, fill things out diligently for weeks, and then I miss a day, and the next time I check the planner or app it has been two months and every item listed is out of date. The best luck I’ve had personally is with apps that you can have email you reminders (Google Calendar is the only things I’ve kept up with because of this feature), because apparently remembering to look at something every freaking day is too hard for me. The other one I’ve kind of been able to implement is at the end of each work day writing down 6 items I want to work on the next day on a post it – helps in giving myself direction when I start work and I don’t have to keep the same planner or notebook on hand at all times.

What do you use to make sure your program planning stays on track?

Some of my favorite apps/websites:
Google Calendar

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