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Programming: Resources for All Ages

Resources for All Ages

Boy, Child, Comic Characters, Dad, Daughter, DrawingProgramming is an essential part of librarianship. While some programs work best when targeted towards a specific demographic, others can be family programs or open to all ages. The resources compiled in this guide will help you add new programs to your library or update some of your current ones.

Movie Licensing

Film, Movie, Clapper, Strip, Slate, SceneMovie events make great library programs, whether they’re targeted at children, teens, or adults. Conveniently, most libraries have vibrant and extensive circulating collections of DVDs to choose from. However, due to U.S. intellectual property laws, a library needs to purchase a license to screen most movies. In fact, civil penalties for unlicensed public performances start at $750 for each inadvertent infringement and go as high as $150,000 for each egregious violation.

The Movie Picture Licensing Corporation explains the pertinent bits of the federal Copyright Act, Title 17 of the United States Code as follows: 

  • According to The Copyright Act, only the copyright owner holds the exclusive right, among others, “to perform the copyrighted work publicly.” (Section 106)
  • The rental or purchase of a motion picture or other audiovisual work does not bear the right to perform the copyrighted work publicly. (Section 202)
  • Films may be shown without a separate license in the home to “a normal circle of family and its social acquaintances” (Section 101) because such showings are not considered “public.”
  • Films may be shown without a license to non-profit educational institutions for “face-to-face teaching activities” because the law provides a limited exception for such showings. (Section 110(1))
  • All other public performances of motion pictures and other audiovisual works are illegal unless they have been authorized by license. Even “performances in ‘semipublic’ places such as clubs, lodges, factories, summer camps and schools are ‘public performances’ subject to copyright control.” (Senate Report No. 94-473, page 60; House Report No. 94-1476, page 64).
  • Both for-profit organizations and non-profit institutions must secure a license to show films, regardless of whether an admission fee is charged. (Senate Report No. 94-473, page 59; House Report No.94-1476, page 62).

The way most libraries gain permission to screen films is through umbrella licenses from either one or both of the following companies (the licenses cover different films, so you’ll want to check carefully to see who, if anyone, covers the movies you want to show):

Financial Literacy For All

Bag, Money, Wealth, Revenue, Finance, Dollars, CurrencyFinancial literacy is important for both kids and adults alike. For children, this might mean understanding fiat currency and the power of money, but as teens turn into adults, this will include budgeting, understanding credit, taxes, mortgages, and retirement preparations. Programs can be targeted at a specific age demographic and bring in speakers from local financial institutions or CPAs. Librarians can partner with local schools' finance classes to assist with activities for young adults.

Book Speed Dating

Book speed dating is a fun program that encourages patrons to read books that they may not normally pick up.

All you need to do is set up a few tables, gather the books ahead of time (these can be a mix of fiction and nonfiction, create a scorecard, and have a timer (or watch/clock) available.

The participants start by picking a book that they would like to “meet.” They get about 3 minutes with that book to read the description and the first few pages. At the end of the 3 minutes, they fill out their scorecard and move to the next table. If they liked the book, they can take it to the next table with them. If, at the next table, they find a book that they like better, they must leave the first book at that table – at no time should they have 2 books at once. When the program is done, the participants get to check out the books they have chosen.

Another way of doing this is for the participants to sit in a circle and pass their books to someone else, instead of going to different tables each round. It may help to vary the way the participants pass the books on by having them pass 3 to the right one time and 5 to the right another time, etc.

It has also been suggested that, if a participant can’t find a book they feel connected to, there should be a “Blind Date table” that he/she has to choose a book from at random.

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Many of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.