I have NEVER had this amount of bookings so early in the year! As of this writing, I have 62 shows booked at 57 libraries in 4 states. Yesterday alone I added 6 libraries to my summer schedule. I think there are a few factors to consider when it comes to figuring out why bookings are up.
First, I think that a lot of librarians who haven't had live programming for the past two years are eager to get things planned. I also performed at a lot of new libraries last summer and after seeing what my show is like, many of them are asking me to come back this year. Finally, I participated in two library showcases...one in Iowa and a virtual showcase in South Dakota. I've definitely seen the results from those.
Last summer, many Nebraska libraries were still doing virtual programming. I only had a handful of bookings in the Cornhusker State. I think Nebraska is bouncing back. I've seen a definite uptick in bookings there. Iowa is also showing an increase and South Dakota is holding steady so far. I haven't booked any shows in Kansas and due to my rapidly filling schedule, I probably won't be able to do many unless they are in nearby Northeast Kansas. We'll see.
Although I'm very excited about the coming summer, I'm approaching it with a little bit of caution. In the early spring of 2020 I had 74 library shows booked and I wound up doing.....4. And those 4 were socially distanced or outdoors. That's a nightmare none of us want to relive. Let's keep our fingers crossed for a happy and healthy Summer Reading Program in 2022!