Seven new library programs to consider adding to your branch

Seven new library programs to consider adding to your branch

It’s no secret that libraries have had to change drastically over the last three years — but change is something that libraries are used to. For generations, libraries have adapted to meet the needs of their users, keeping up with evolutions in technology and learning styles. Now is no different. 

As public libraries continue to embrace change and seek to add new programs to their roster, we’re here to help. For this piece, we’ve put together a list of seven library programs for librarians to consider as they think about their programming for 2023 and beyond. 

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Setting the right foundation

The first thing to do when choosing programs for your library is to determine your goals and priorities. Does your library have enough of a presence outside its walls so that people can benefit from programming remotely? Is there communal feedback that you’d like to address? Are there social initiatives that you feel your library could help promote? These are all questions that can help guide you as you evaluate the options below.

1. Fostering media literacy

At PressReader, we talk a lot about media literacy as we feel it’s vitally important in an age of rampant misinformation. Media literacy skills are essential, and libraries can play a role in ensuring that their members are equipped with it.

Programs centered around teaching internet users to think critically about the content they read and verify the source where they can is a great first step. This learning can also happen alongside any digital literacy training that the library might offer. 

Digital content platforms like PressReader can also help here, as they provide easy access to trusted magazine and newspaper publications. This way, users can expand their perspectives through content that covers multiple topic areas, languages, and regional insights. Plus, as a library, the more digital resources you have access to, the better you’ll be able to support and serve your community. 


2. Expanding opportunities for learning

Public libraries have always been a resource for community members to enhance their knowledge and build their skills. As the world becomes more and more digital, there’s an opportunity to take this approach to the digital realm and equip users with self-guided learning. Self-directed online learning platforms like LinkedIn Learning or Udemy, for instance, are great resources for independent learners and students.

These and other sites like Skillshare have an ample selection of video or written material within the confines of a formal course. They cover all forms of topics, from languages to professional skills. 

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3. Enhancing digital skill sets

As part of this digital evolution in the library space, these institutions have become digital shepherds, offering programs that sets individuals up for success.

Take a look at your community, there are probably numerous segments that would benefit from digital literacy — from kids who need guidance on how to use the internet safely as part of their learning, to older individuals who haven’t quite wrapped their heads around how to use the phone they got from their son-in-law.

The public library can also play a role in helping job seekers build their skill sets and improve their chances for employment.

4. Delivering immersive experiences

With immersive experiences such as Google Expeditions or programs hosted on the Oculus Quest headset, public library members can visit different museums, landmarks and cultures. Participating in these experiences can help young library members build empathy and perspective without leaving their hometown, making them more connected to the world around them.



The trouble with virtual or augmented reality headsets is that they can be expensive. And with only one person able to wear them at a given time, the return on investment is much lower than a digital platform that reaches all of your users. Here, you can consider less expensive headsets with slots for mobile phones, so that your patrons can recreate their own VR experience. 

5. Building social connections

Beyond the educational value of library programming, there’s also an important social component for individuals who might live or work from home. Loneliness is hard to navigate — especially for those that spent lock-down on their own or anyone who has recently lost a loved one.

Library staff can help by partnering with local businesses and providing social events catered to their communities. This could look like an after-hours wine-tasting event, a book club, a job fair, or an opportunity for learners of a language to practice their verbal skills.

6. Promoting environmental sustainability

There is a pressing need for communities and leaders to do more to protect the planet — a need that’s made more poignant with every significant weather event. Around the world, libraries are already leading the charge and setting an example for how public institutions can contribute to these efforts.

When it comes to programming, there are a lot of things a public library can do. Hosting a climate expert in residence, for instance, that has office hours and teaching sessions, can be a great way to make environmental justice more accessible to members. Alternatively, having a green committee that invites people of all ages to set initiatives for the library itself can also inspire a spirit of collaboration.

7. Engaging in social justice

Protecting the environment is just one of the important conversations that librarians can facilitate — but it doesn’t need to stop there. Equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging all form part of important conversations happening in workplaces and beyond, but not everyone feels informed enough to talk about these concepts.

Consider programs that provide a safe environment for people to discuss their experiences, learn from others, and grapple with the terminology so that they can perform their own acts of social justice when they need to.


Embracing the future starts with your patrons

There are many options to choose from when it comes to setting up new programming, and there’s going to be plenty to consider as you make your choice. While the realities of your budget and team availability will influence your decision, so too should your patron needs.

If you can, talk to members of the community — both in person and online — and see what they feel is lacking. At the end of the day, libraries exist to serve and empower their communities, and they themselves can help shape what that looks like. 

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