5 Tips for Compelling Library Programs

“Librarians want programs that fulfill at least two of the Three E’s: Engage, Educate, and Entertain.” This is not only true of libraries, but also works for community groups where authors may be invited to speak. These tips will enhance your chances of garnering an invitation.

Mystery Writers at Florida Library Association

On Wednesday evening, the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America held a dinner meeting at Seasons 52 on West Sand Lake Road. It was good to see our Central Florida members. We had a great time getting to know each other better.

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The next morning was the Florida Library Association Convention at the Caribe Royale hotel. Our chapter and national MWA sponsored a breakfast that was well attended. Alison McMahan, Victoria Landis, and Johnny Ray joined me as panelists with Ann Meier moderating. At this event, we each introduced ourselves and spoke about our books. Then we had a lively exchange with the librarians at the Q&A session.

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We followed with another panel on the topic of Settings as Character in Fiction Writing.

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During the Q&A sessions, we asked the librarians a few questions in return.

Q: Where do you buy your books? A: Most of them use Overdrive.

Q: How do you select the books? A: They open Overdrive and see what’s available. Often book selections aren’t up to them but are made higher up. However, if a patron requests your print book, it might be ordered.

Q: Where do you get your audio books? A: From Recorded Books (www.recordedbooks.com).

Q: Do you use LibraryThing or Goodreads? A: Very few of the librarians said they go to LibraryThing online but a resounding number belong to Goodreads.

Q: What workshop topics would you like to see authors offer? A: Editing, Story Structure, Marketing, Agent Queries, Self-Publishing. Authors should have a specific topic and not just come to talk about their books.

Q: What resources do you suggest if we need to research a place we haven’t been? A: Your reference librarian, news articles that can date back to the early 1800’s, historical archives, inter-library loans, demographic databases, CIA and State Department files on other countries.

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LIBRARIES IN A DIGITAL WORLD

Will libraries become a relic of the past when books turn digital?  Like in a Dr. Who episode, will there be one vast library that’s a repository for the entire world, the sole remaining place holding dusty shelves? That was a cool couple of episodes with David Tennant starring, by the way. Think about the trees cut down to produce all that paper and where those once living trees might have come from. Anyway, will libraries, with reduced funding as an additional obstacle, still be viable ten years from now?                          Books

If you think of the library as a multi-media center, then I believe the answer is yes. Besides books, movies, and music, public libraries offer free classes on a variety of topics, meeting rooms, computer centers, literacy and outreach programs. And did you know you could order digital books from the library to download to your eReader?  You can probably research whatever you want by accessing library services online, too.

 A recent article in an AARP bulletin for seniors reports about how Queens Library in New York holds a phone-in discussion group twice a week.  Participants dial in at the prescribed times and chat about books, recipes, current events topics, history, and more. It’s a great way for people to keep in touch and have human contact when they can’t get about so easily. The library’s mail-in program supplies assisted living facilities and homebound individuals with reading materials, movies, and music.  These are great services for people who want to benefit from their local library but don’t have the means to get there.

It appears as though the role of the library in the future is to expand rather than to shrink. So donate your used books to your local library, join the Friends of the Library and support their fund-raisers, and give your librarian a big hug of appreciation for all her efforts.

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JUPITER, FL

Last weekend, I gave a talk at Jupiter library, but first, my husband and I drove around to explore the town.   Jupiter Lighthouse

We  stopped at Dubois Park but it was Memorial Day weekend and the park was mobbed with picnickers. It looked to be impossible to get a parking spot so we drove on. We went next to Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, in service since 1860 with a museum and gift shop. Tours cost $7 but you can get a good photo from the parking lot. We took another photo from across the Intracoastal where we ate lunch at The Crab House. Another trendy restaurant, Guanabanas (http://www.guanabanas.com/), is down the street but self-parking is a few doors down and the skies were heavy with threatening rain clouds. We’ll have to try that one next time. I am grateful to my Internet Fan, Suzie Burrows, for traveling to the library to meet me, and the other authors who attended: Melissa Alvarez, Traci Hall, and Marilyn Campbell. Readers filled the other seats and we had a lively discussion. Thanks, too, to Classic Bookshop from Palm Beach for bringing my books to sell. You gotta love our libraries and indie bookstores!

Jupiter Lighthouse                      

View from Lighthouse

Coming on Tuesday, June 8th:  Interview with author Sandra Sookoo

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