The Cycle of Programming

Programming is my biggest love and my biggest hate. I love being in with the teens and doing awesome things, but I hate how far ahead I have to plan! My fall season has barely started (Sept) and I have to all programs and dates for Jan – May ready by end of October. I know this is the normal cycle that a lot of libraries follow, but it can be hard, especially when you have to decide if you want to carry on new programs or not. It can be stressful to say the least. Here are some general things I do when planning for the next programming cycle

  1. Decide which of my monthly programs will continue. I normally let the newer ones stay since I don’t have enough data either way. They’re my hope for the best scenarios.
  2. Talk to my Teen Advisory Group 2 months before due date. I get their general thoughts on what they’ve liked so far and if they have any new ideas.
  3. Search Pinterest. One of my favorite boards is the Teen Programs in Libraries Collab Board.  I also check out TSU posts and other programming blogs to see if there’s anything I want to use.
  4. Take everything BACK to TAG and get their finals yes and nos.
  5. Talk to Co-workers about who is interested in what and settle all final dates, write the blurbs, and send it to our marketing person.

I do allow myself to breathe before going into hard core planning. I’ll usually do that about a month or so before the new session. I go one by one through the list I sent my marketing person and turn each event into an actual plan. A typical event will look like this

Keep Calm and Relax On – 10/6; 6:00 – 7:30pm
Things Needed: jars, balloon, rice, glitter, clear glue, food coloring, funnels

  • 30 Minute Mini-Yoga/Mediation session
  • Create Stress balls or calming jars


Sometimes I go into greater detail, but that usually comes about a week to a month before the program happens. Things like how many teens are coming and how easy is the project will change how I had things planned. I never want to have anything too firmly planned due to this. After all, running a craft project for 6 is much different than one for 20. Also, I know the teens attitudes can change everything as well and not having a plan too set in stone will allow me to adjust it to their needs.

Tell me how your programming cycle goes. Any tips/tricks you’d like to share?

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *