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  • Writer's pictureJeff Quinn

Thinking Outside the Schedule Box

I don't know how it is where you are, but March is definitely coming in like a lion here in the Elkhorn/Omaha, Nebraska area. The snow we're getting will let me use my snowblower for (hopefully) the final time this season.

March has a lot going for it. It contains Nebraska's birthday (today, by the way). Dr. Seuss's birthday (tomorrow) and, ahem, MY birthday on Wednesday. There's also St. Patrick's Day, March Madness, Read Across America, the Ides of March (beware) and, of course, Mardi Gras followed by Ash Wednesday.

Looking at the calendar got me thinking about your Summer Reading Program calendar. Are you strict with your calendar or are you flexible?

I know some librarians are very strict. They must have their Summer Reading Program activity on Tuesday mornings at 10:30. Other libraries are more flexible. I can see both viewpoints. If there is a set day and time for SRP activities, children and their parents can easily block out those days on a calendar. Everyone knows that Tuesday at 10:30 is Library Day.

Other libraries I know think a little differently. Each year I have a handful of libraries who want to have me in the evening. They feel this gives parents time to come home from work, eat and bring everyone to the library for a fun family activity. I also have a few libraries who have me on Saturdays. Again, this is so parents can come, too. One library has even had me for a "Daddy & me" session on Saturday morning. They have me for two during the week, where it's open to everyone, but the other on Saturday morning is reserved just for dads and their kids.

The danger with being strict in your schedule is that you have a more limited chance of booking me or any other performer. If you only have SRP activities at 10:30 on Tuesday and I"m already booked for that time, I'm sorry. And I really am. I feel badly when I have to tell a library that I'm not able to perform for them. I ran into this situation this past week.

I belong to the Omaha Magical Society and we have our meetings the third Monday of each month. It's been that way for as long as I can remember and everyone knows that when the third Monday of the month rolls around, there's going to be a meeting. However, if a great lecturer is coming through town and will be able to do a lecture for us that isn't on that third Monday, we tend to make an exception and have our meeting on a different date.

So, I'd like to encourage those libraries who are unbending in their schedules to consider making an exception here and there. Promote it as a "Special Event" and get your readers excited about it. Sometimes it's good to shake things up a little.

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