Books and Beyond: Dynamic Programming for Adults

Liz Morris /

Images courtesy Audrey Barbakoff from her website at the-bookaneer.comBooks and Beyond

As library lovers, we know the power books possess to encourage, incite, and expose us. Audrey Barbakoff, Adult Services Manager with Kitsap Regional Library, regularly exposes members of her community to new ideas, and to each other, through dynamic programming for book lovers. She shared some motivating strategies and resources during WebJunction’s latest webinar: Beyond Book Groups – Fun Library Programs for Adult Readers.

Read on to seek inspiration of your own, and be sure to see and share the free, full archive page, which includes a learner guide to help you launch engaging adult programming for bibliophiles at your library and beyond.

Go to where the readers gather

Where are adults in your community spending their time, and how might you bring library services to them there? Audrey began the Ferry Tales book club on a 35-minute ferry boat ride between her community in Bainbridge Island, WA and the mainland in Seattle, WA, because nearly one-third of working adults in her community take the ferry to and from work on a daily basis. She has also implemented staff ideas for Books on Tap, engaging young adults 21+ in the community in literary trivia at a local restaurant on a monthly basis.

These groups have been very successful, and in addition to increasing community awareness of the originality and relevance of library services, have provided great opportunities for the library to partner with other local organizations.

Remember - real learning is real fun

Adult programs such as book clubs can be spaces for people to play, create, grow and connect. The social aspect of library programs strengthens personal ties and community trust. The Book to Action Toolkit from the California State Library and California Center for the Book provides guidance on how to organize book-based programs that activate participants around matters of civic engagement and shared learning.

Images courtesy Audrey Barbakoff from her website at the-bookaneer.comImages courtesy Audrey Barbakoff from her website at the-bookaneer.comImages courtesy Audrey Barbakoff from her website at

Talk it up

Whether you hope to engage a new target audience for adult reading programs at your library, or are eager to try out new programming tactics in your community, keep in mind that what you do is just as important as why you do it. The more you can connect your creative approach to the context of your library’s mission in your community, the more you can help community members, partners, funders, and even internal stakeholders understand the value of innovative programming.

The feature article Transforming Our Image through Words That Work: Perception is Everything can help you in your efforts to articulate the value and enhance the perception of your work.

Books, in their many forms, are compelling. Public learning is powerful. As an agent of both, you can elevate library services to your community, working with your patrons’ love of literature and beyond.

Don't miss out on the full archive page and take your adult programming beyond books.