Ideas for the One That Got Away

A while back I almost started a dreamjob. Throughout the interview process I kept a small notebook in my pocket and filled the thing with ideas. These were all the things I was gonna come tearing out of the gate and get done in the first six months.

Well I didn’t end up getting the job but I had about fifty pages of brainstorming. I thought about mailing them to my interviewer as a kind of “hey no hard feelings, oh and by the way this is what you missed out on” but a number of friends suggested that was not the best way of going about it (“you want to do WHAT? no way man, fuck them”).

It does seem a waste to just let these things sit in a little notebook and die though so I am going to share them here with you.

The Heavy Reading Book Challenge – Instead of tracking number of books read or even number of pages read you do a reading challenge where you measure the height (thickness) and weight of each book read. The librarian keeps the official scale and ruler and manages the spreadsheet with each participant’s stats in it. If you add up individuals and groups you can come up with really fun numbers. Is your bookstack as tall as an NBA player, is it as heavy as an anvil? How about everyone at the branch, did they read the height of the library or the weight of a delivery truck? I did this reading challenge at a small community library with the kids and we got to a height of two Mr Ben’s”, a unit of measurement based on the height of our children’s librarian. It would be great to do it as a combined child/adult challenge and see what kind of dimensions the community can read.

Book Buddies for Grownups – OK we have all done the program of book buddies where older kids read to toddlers and elementary school students. What if you did random pairings of books for adults? You chose a range of books that work for book clubs and discussion then offer them up in pairs. Random people take the two copies of the same book then you have an event where ALL of the book pairings come together to talk about the book they read. It is kind of like speed dating meets book club (actually this would work well in any kind of a “library dating” programming).  It would be easy to do a quick survey to match people but honestly I think it would be more fun to just go off the book and see what commonalities come from people choosing the same title.

Read With A Senior – Similar to the Book Buddies program but with the intention of pairing seniors with younger folks. This would be great for a high school service requirement or a social club that does community outreach like the Lions or Rotary. Any university that has a greek life component could be reached for this as well. Ideally you would hope for a 1 to 1 ratio but you could get away with a couple of seniors per companion reader if you don’t get enough interest. Human contact significantly improves senior quality of life, health, and longevity so this program actually has long term health benefits if you can keep it populated with participants.

Night Bookclubs – If you have any evening hours then capture that allure of the night and get some of your patrons in for programming AFTER work.

Vampire Reading Society – OK maybe you will get mostly teens but God knows there are plenty of materials/series to chose from here.

Night Histories – Fringe history, social history of strange topics, history from the perspective of the “loser”, underexamined historical events and persons

Romance After Dark – Ideally this should be all kinds of romance but I would be tempted to work unconventional love stories and smut

Street Lit By Street Lamp – Street Lit going with a theme of after hours where possible

Up Late Reading Comics – Graphic novel discussion group, again would be tempted to go with more adult titles. Even if the titles are capes and tights go with more challenging themes.

Mysteries by Night – work all the themes of mysteries from cozies to thrillers.

Poputics – Pop political texts, variety of issues. Moderating these discussions would be a nightmare but the conversation would be lively for sure.

More to come folks, this is about three pages of notes…


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