Planning and Collaborating to Promote Your Programs
In Unit 1, we explored the advantages of offering library programs that are designed around best practices of informal science learning. We then considered, in Unit 2, key concepts important to understanding climate change and how it is influencing extreme weather events. Since these events often result in disasters for communities that then require critical, timely information, we looked in Unit 3 at multiple roles for public libraries during times of crisis. You now have a framework for developing a communications and collaboration plan to promote the Pushing the Limits program series in your community.
In this Unit, you will:
- Explore marketing and program promotion strategies
- Identify community groups and organizations for partnerships and collaboration
- Develop a timeline for planning, promoting, and implementing the Pushing the Limits program series
- Learn tips for working with your NOAA science partner to develop and implement the program series
Good planning leads to successful programs – and fewer headaches! Numerous planning guides, implementation checklists, and marketing templates are available through this website, and we’ll explore several of them together as you plan your event and develop the marketing.
Each Pushing the Limits program is designed to run 90 minutes. You can decide the order in which you want to present each of the three programs and the time interval betwen them:
- Pushing the Limits: Change
- Pushing the Limits: Community
- Pushing the Limits: Strategy
Many libraries find that a monthly or bi-weekly schedule for a discussion-based series works best.
As you plan the dates, consider factors that might influence attendance, including weather, community events, other library programs, or holidays. Once you’ve decided when to schedule each program, you’ll be able to work through the checklist and assign dates for each of the tasks.
You’ll be working with your NOAA science partner as you plan and implement the programs. You each have important roles in the collaboration. During each program, your NOAA scientist will likely take the lead role in introducing the initial questions and providing a science context for the discussion as it unfolds. As co-facilitator, you will be collaborating with the NOAA scientist to plan and present the programs. Your knowledge of the community, your partnerships with local groups and organizations, and your program planning skills are all critical to the success of the programs.
ROLES FOR YOU AND YOUR SCIENCE PARTNER
To learn more about what how you and your NOAA science partner can work together, you may want to review the materials and information in the Science Partner Resource section. We’ll also cover more on roles in Unit Five.
Now is a good time to review the recommended list of program books and select the one(s) you think will resonate best with your community. You can select one book for all three programs or a separate book for each program. The programming schedule and time between each program may influence your decision, as well as knowledge of your community’s interest in book discussions. When you have narrowed down your choices, discuss them with your NOAA science partner for his or her input. You should also review and share the Suggested Program Discussion Questions with your NOAA scientist. These discussion questions are designed to promote interesting and engaging program discussions.
Launching a new project often comes with challenges, one of which can be marketing the program to your community.
Marketing your program will be an important step towards a successful event. You’ll quickly discover that as you’re marketing the programs, you’re also marketing your library.
Peggy Barber is a librarian and consultant who has worked with hundreds of public libraries on marketing and communications activities. Here, she explains why marketing is so important not just for this event, but for your library’s overall success.
Marketing Your Public Programs
- Identifying Target Audiences
- Building Partnerships
In the next video, Peggy Barber provides strategies for connecting with new groups and organizations in your community and expanding the library’s reach.
Identifying Target Audiences
Engaging new audiences and organizations increases your library’s profile as a resource for informal STEM learning.
In Peggy Barber’s presentation, we heard about ways that the program planning involved such groups as the library board and the Friends group, as well as the Department of Natural Resources, a local college, and the city council.
These toolkits include posters, press releases and other materials you can customize for use in your own library. You’ll note that each Toolkit also includes some materials for the whole program series.
Now let’s get the word out using strategic communication strategies. It’s not uncommon for people to feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the large-scale challenges of climate change. For example, the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions at Columbia University has found that many people do not feel a personal connection to climate change. By highlighting how the issues explored in the Pushing the Limits program series may affect them locally, you are more likely to generate interest and concern. Some techniques are described in the next video.
Key Message and Communication Strategies
Broadening your library’s role as an ISL community resource for environmental literacy doesn’t happen overnight. As you partner with different organizations and groups to plan and offer the programs – and, as these programs generate interest, discussion, and community engagement around extreme weather events and community resiliency – you will be building your library’s capacity as a vital resource for the community.